A unique partnership has been made between pastors and county leaders in San Bernardino. Their goal is to increase COVID-19 vaccinations among Black residents.
"Lord, God, we come against fear -- those who are fearful of getting the vaccine,” said a San Bernardino pastor outside Immanuel Praise Fellowship in Rancho Cucamonga.
Pastors of African American churches throughout San Bernardino County have come together with an important message.
"We've done testing, we've done education, and now it's time to do the vaccinations," said Bishop Kelvin Simmons from Immanuel Praise Fellowship.
These trusted leaders are here to spread that message to fellow members of the Black community, who they say have been reluctant to get the COVID-19 vaccinations.
"We know that it was important to do the education part because I'll just be upfront with you, I was one of the ones that said I was not going to tell my congregation to do the vaccination,” said Bishop Simmons.
"It's imperative that no one or no group is left behind in these efforts," said Corwin Porter, San Bernardino County public health director.
This is why pastors and county leaders have formed a partnership, to send mobile vaccination vans to African American churches in the coming weeks.
"The percentage of African American residents who have been vaccinated is far below the percentage of the county population," County Supervisor Curt Hagman reported.
Hagman says the partnership will hopefully encourage members of the Black community to get vaccinated.
“We need to let them know they can trust this process and that we want to protect all of our residents equally and make sure they don't get this horrible disease,” he said.
"My first shot went pretty smooth. There was no after effect," said Ensley Howell, who got vaccinated.
Howell says he's looking forward to his second shot, and he's hoping others will also get vaccinated.
"It's vital for us to get back to a normal life. We need it," he said.
The first vaccination event is happening on Tuesday at Juniper Avenue SDA Church in Fontana.