Black Churches Fight Spread of H1N1

By David Schultz
|  Wednesday, Nov 11, 2009  |  Updated 7:45 PM EDT
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Black Church Group Urges Members to Get H1N1 Vaccine

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Black Church Group Urges Members to Get H1N1 Vaccine

A group based in Washington is urging members of the 34,000 churches it represents nationwide to get the H1N1 vaccine as it becomes available.
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The Rev. Anthony Evans is telling his parishioners to give each other fist bumps rather than handshakes, not because they're cool, but because they spread fewer germs.

Evans is having a tougher time convincing his congregants to get the H1N1 vaccine. Ever since the Tuskegee experiments, in which doctors conducted unethical medical studies on African Americans, many of them don't trust the government, Evans said.

"Tuskegee, as you well know, is burned in our memories," says Evans.

In a poll commissioned by the Greater Washington Board of Trade, only one-third of adults in D.C. said they plan to get vaccinated.

Speaking at St. Stephens Baptist Church in Temple Hills, Md., the head of the Association of Black Cardiologists, Dr. Boisey Barnes, said one-third is unacceptably low.

"This is a no-brainer," Dr. Barnes said. "This is the easiest thing to prevent. Just get your flu vaccines."

Evans is leading a nationwide coalition of black churches trying to increase vaccination rates.

Listen to the complete story at wamu.org

Copyright 2009 WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio. All Rights Reserved.

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