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Religious leader offers church to become vaccine sanctuaries

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Posted at 5:19 PM, Jan 11, 2021

There is concern among some members of the Latino immigrant and African American communities that people will be skeptical or unwilling to go outside their close-knit communities to get a shot.

That is why some think churches could play a role in the general-population vaccination effort.

Rick Rodriguez parks his minivan outside the Lincoln Methodist Church, which is providing some hope during the pandemic. He receives a white plastic grocery bag filled with food and a quart of milk. It brings some relief to his family and many others impacted by COVID-19.

“This is a great program for the community during this time,” Rodriguez said.

Church leaders are conducting a poll to find out how many of those coming to the food drive will agree to take the vaccine. Rodriguez, a retired city worker, does not hesitate.

“Yes, I would in a second,” Rodriguez said.

However, not everyone feels this way.

Many in Latino and Black communities are hesitant to visit medical and government institutions where the vaccine might be delivered. They’re skeptical or worried about their immigration status.

“We know that in the past the government has been dishonest,” community activist Sara Walker said. “People have lost faith. But the inequity here will be not taking the vaccine.”

That is why some believe religious temples should be vaccine sanctuaries.

“We are in place,” Pastor Emma Lozano said. “If they want to curve and stop the pandemic, they need to come to our communities, into places where our community feels confident. We have a structure in place and they already know us.”