Twenty-five clergy members from multiple faith traditions in the D.C. area received the COVID-19 vaccine at the Washington National Cathedral Tuesday. Many hail from communities hardest hit by the pandemic, and received their shots live on camera to help their congregants build trust in the vaccine.
A livestream at 5 p.m. captured the moment the interfaith group, from houses of worship across the District, Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in Maryland, and Arlington County and the City of Alexandria in Virginia, got the vaccine.
Organizers acknowledged that minority communities were the ones hit hardest by the pandemic, and said the vaccine confidence event was meant to reel in those more hesitant to receive it.
“Due to misinformation, mistrust resulting from historic injustices, and disparate experiences with the healthcare system in the United States, many in these communities remain hesitant to get the vaccine,” the release reads. “The representation of multiple faith leaders of color at the event—each of whom will be getting vaccinated on camera—will send a message of trust in the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness from reliable messengers rooted in these communities.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci provided remarks before the vaccinations and dispelled rumors about the shot. The event was hosted by the Washington National Cathedral and the National Institutes of Health.
In the press release, the Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, who is dean of the cathedral, said, “For those Americans who remain hesitant, it is critical for clergy to exercise their leadership by demonstrating the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. We’re pleased to have this opportunity to convene faith leaders who are committed to doing just that.”