Hispanic pastors join forces to educate themselves, reassure community on vaccine safety
Hispanic pastors are coming together to team up with Lee Health, Hodges University and the Florida Department of Health to vaccinate the community.
If the pastors were not on board with the COVID-19 vaccine, or fearful of it, people in their congregations likely would be, too, which is why 32 pastors will meeting Friday to discuss their goal to educate people.
Experts from Hodges University, the FDOH-Lee and Lee Health will also be present to answer question and concerns.
“The pastor is a very important person in the congregation,” said Rev. Israel Suarez with the Good Samaritan Assembly of God, located at 2220 Hunter St. in Fort Myers. “We just go and tell the truth. You don’t have to be afraid… this is real, and we give you the benefit of the doubt to be part of that, so you don’t get sick.”
Suarez says many pastors in the community don’t know enough about this health issue, so he hopes this meeting will get them on board with vaccinations.
“The coronavirus is a serious situation… it’s been killing people around the world,” Suarez said. “This is no joke, this is real. We have to make sure the Hispanic community understands that this is serious. And they have to get it, it’s as simple as that.”
Suarez himself had coronavirus, so he understands how devastating it can be, but he says some in the community are still unsure. He hopes that once more of the pastors are educated, they can go out and educate their congregation.
“I’m in the streets… I’m in the ghetto,” Suarez said. “I hear them talking. It’s a combination… some people believe that there’s something behind the coronavirus and they don’t wanna participate, or they just want to be distant. They don’t understand.”
The churches are working with the FDOH to get some vaccination clinics set up, but there is no set date for when that will happen.