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Black Churches Work To Boost Baltimore Vaccination Rates

Rev. Evans at a news conference promoting VACCNEWS. Credit: Sarah Y. Kim/WYPR
Rev. Evans at a news conference promoting VACCNEWS. Credit: Sarah Y. Kim/WYPR

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a national coalition of 150,000 churches, is trying to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates in Baltimore.

Rev. Anthony Evans, the president of NBCI, said his coalition has set up more than 150 vaccine clinics in the country, and is active in five states and 14 cities. He wants to vaccinate all of Baltimore’s Black and Latino residents.

“The Black church is at the forefront of solving this issue,” he said.

Less than half of Baltimore's Black residents have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to city data.

“Please, in the name of Christ...get vaccinated immediately,” Evans said. “We are not in the business of conducting your funeral.”

Standing in front of Douglass Homes on East Lexington Street Friday, Evans said the city needs groups like NBCI on the ground.

One of NBCI’s new initiatives is “VACCNEWS,” an educational pamphlet that they’re circulating in Baltimore churches.

The headline on the inaugural issue, launched Friday, reads: “Black Doctors say COVID-19 Vaccines are Good and Safe for Black People.”

Evans said residents can stop by one of NBCI’s Baltimore churches to get a vaccine or tested.

Sarah Y. Kim is WYPR’s health and housing reporter. Kim is WYPR's Report for America corps member, and Anthony Brandon Fellow. Kim joined WYPR as a 2020-2021 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. Now in her second year as an RFA corps member, Kim is based in Baltimore City.