BALTIMORE — On the first day of Phase 3, Governor Larry Hogan recognized faith leaders for their work in vaccine distribution.
"We teach that saving one life, you save the whole world," said Rabbi Aderet Drucker.
It’s with that mission, that faith leaders like Drucker have been actively involved in COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
"Knowing there are people out there who are trepidatious about this, whatever we can do to provide comfort and inspiration," said Drucker.
Hogan said throughout the pandemic, faith-based organizations have played a critical role in setting up clinics and encouraging their communities to get vaccinated.
“Equally as important as getting a vaccine yourself is helping someone you now to get a vaccine,” said Hogan. “People have faith in their places of worship and in their faith leaders and when they’re out there telling them how important it is, I think people listen more than they listen to folks like us."
"We’ve increased shots in 50% of those communities where we’ve been working. This wouldn’t have happened without the faith-based community," said Brigadier General Janeen Birckhead, who leads the Maryland Vaccine Equity Task Force.
To say thank you, Hogan and other state leaders hosted a diverse group of more than 50 faith leaders for an event at M&T Bank Stadium's mass vaccination site on Tuesday, the first day of Phase 3 of vaccine distribution. The event was called Faith Leaders United Against COVID-19.
"It’s such a day full of hope to see all of us here together and to know that we’re representing communities that are diverse but we all want the same thing, it’s really a moving thing," said Drucker.
After brief remarks, those who hadn’t had the chance yet, got their first vaccine, including Drucker's husband Brett.
"I can’t believe it’s here. I was really excited to get the shot in my arm," said Brett.
All Marylanders age 16 and older can now get vaccinated at any mass vax site and by next Monday, all 3,000 providers statewide will be required to allow vaccines for all Marylanders age 16 and older.
"We have to lead and to lead you have to show the way. You have to know what you’re doing and you have to make action," said Pastor Nehemiah Cole, who also got his first dose Tuesday.