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Newark Clergy Start Initiative To Get Members Of Black Community To Get COVID Vaccine

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Nearly a dozen churches in New Jersey’s largest city are part of an initiative urging the community to get the COVID-19 vaccine. CBS2's Alice Gainer reports.

Video Transcript

DANA TYLER: Nearly a dozen churches in Newark are now coming together to urge the community to get the COVID vaccine. And as CBS2's Alice Gainer reports, their message is all about show, not just tell.

MAX JOHNSON: I didn't want nothing to do with it. I don't want to get it at all.

ALICE GAINER: But today Pastor Max Johnson rolled up his sleeve and got the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

What changed your mind?

MAX JOHNSON: My apostolic overseer.


He said he already had the shot, and I trust him with my life.

ALICE GAINER: Now Pastor Johnson is hoping he can inspire that same confidence in someone else.

BERNARD WILKES: Hearing it from someone that they trust, they're more likely to receive it.

ALICE GAINER: Johnson was among 10 Newark clergy members publicly getting the shot in an effort to encourage more members of the Black community to sign up.

DAVID JEFFERSON: 4 to 5% of the folks in the city of Newark of color have been vaccinated today. We have to increase that number.

RALPH BRANCH: Since the pandemic began, we have been with families that have lost loved ones. We've helped them through difficult moments in death. But I thank God that we now have the opportunity to help them live by way of this vaccine.

ALICE GAINER: 10 different churches in Newark have partnered with Saint James Health to offer the vaccine every Wednesday. Getting the word out is one challenge. The other, supply.

DAVID JEFFERSON: We have been demanding that we would get more vaccine.

NICOLE FIELDS: At this time, we have 1,000 people in the queue. And as we get the vaccines, we schedule them for appointments.

ALICE GAINER: The faith-based vaccination program will be held at Metropolitan Baptist Church's Willing Heart Community Care Center. They plan to spread the message through church services, social media, and knocking on doors.

Johnson's pitch to people?

MAX JOHNSON: Taking the vaccine is better than getting COVID.

ALICE GAINER: In Newark, Alice Gainer, CBS2 News.

DANA TYLER: Individuals must either live in Newark or work in Newark and must register online to get the vaccine. You can find that link on our website, CBSNewYork.com