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Baltimore faith-based leaders want to play a greater part in vaccination process

Posted at 4:46 PM, Feb 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-11 17:15:33-05

BALTIMORE — As vaccinations continue Baltimore faith leaders are asking for partnership with state and local leaders.

"While hesitancy is part of the problem, the main problem, in my estimation is access," said Pastor Derrick DeWitt. "You have sites that are not exactly accessible for everyone."

DeWitt is the director of Maryland Baptist Aged Home He's also pastor of the First Mount Calvary Church nearby.

"We understand that in these communities' people who need the help the most are probably going to be the last to get it if they get it at all," he said Thursday.

DeWitt and other faith-based community leaders are asking for greater partnership when it comes to vaccine rollout and access.

"There’s going to be a lot of struggle even if you make it accessible to get people to take it," he said. "That's why there has to be a partnership between the people who are issuing the vaccinations and the people of the community trusts to convince them to take it."

Pastors like DeWitt would like to see vaccinations sites in underserved communities.

"It's a very real problem when you say we're going to have a vaccination process in a pandemic and we want you to come get vaccinated but these locations don't serve everyone."

As WMAR-2 News has reported Baltimore City has announced partnerships with local health partners and high education institutions. So far there have been no major faith-passed announcements.

Yesterday Mayor Brandon Scott addressed if his administration and the health department have reached out to faith leaders for their involvement.

"Absolutely. Yes," said Mayor Scott. "All of the faith-based folks are going to be involved. All credible community masses are going to be involved in this. We know that some of that work has already started to happen but we’re going to see even more."

An issue that remains, vaccine supply.

Pastor DeWitt had this message for those in his community, "We as faith-based leaders will do what we can do to try to make sure that the vaccine is available to you."