How A Detroit Church Is Encouraging Vaccine Education Amid COVID-19 Rise

Pastor Kenneth J. Flowers of the Greater New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan is preaching vaccine education along with his weekly message. 

Flowers and his wife Terri Flowers both battled the virus last year, now, the church leader is encouraging his congregants to get vaccine protection against COVID-19. 

“If God can use doctors for cardiology, if God can use doctors for oncology and cancer, then surely God can use doctors for COVID-19,” Flowers told CNN. “It doesn’t mean you don’t have faith. You must have your faith but you must also use the doctors so get the vaccination.” 

Federal and state officials have reportedly called on Flowers and other religious leaders in Michigan to get vaccine education messages to the masses.

In recent weeks, Michigan has seen a surge of new coronavirus cases, which one expert described as a “category 5 hurricane status,” according to a report by The Hill. On Saturday (April 3), the state saw a record 8,413 new COVID-19 cases, the highest new daily infection rate since December 7 of last year. Michigan also has the second-highest number of cases of the UK variant, according to the CDC. 

In response to the pandemic, Flowers’ church held a vaccine drive in March and got more than 200 people their first dose. Pastor Flowers told CNN the second dose will be given out in mid-April. 

The church is a part of the growing movement of faith institutions being used to bring COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine education to marginalized communities around the nation. Compared to early data captured in December 2020, vaccine hesitancy among Black Americans has declined. A survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 55 percent of Black Americans said they received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine or that they want to get one as soon as possible, compared to 41 percent in December. Pastor Flowers said the “message is resonating” among his congregants and the Black community nationwide as the federal government ramps up vaccine access to marginalized communities around the country. 

Pastor Flowers’ wife, Terri told CNN, for those who are still hesitant to get the vaccine, they’ll “continue to encourage them and just be there for them.” “But being on the other side thankfully,” she added, “I can only say, just do it.” 

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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