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Covid-19

Florida Faith Leaders Launch Statewide Vaccination Campaign

Florida faith leaders are launching a new campaign to encourage congregants to get vaccinated. The “Keep the Faith, Get Vaccinated Florida” campaign is from the progressive nonprofit group Faith in Public Life. 

“A basic tenet of faith communities everywhere is treating others how you want to be treated, and loving your neighbor is the right thing to do, and getting the vaccine, wearing a mask is just an expression of that,” said Faith in Public Life Florida Director Joey McKinnon. 

McKinnon said the campaign is working with 100 faith leaders around Florida to promote vaccination from the pulpit, and is offering support for volunteers who want to reach out to community members about the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

Attitudes about the COVID-19 vaccine vary widely between religious communities, according to research by the nonpartisan, nonprofit Public Religious Research Institute, with Jewish Americans, Hispanic Catholics and white Catholics most accepting, at 85%, 80% and 79% respectively. The same research found that the religious groups least accepting of the COVID-19 vaccine are Hispanic Protestants and white evangelical Protestants, at 56% for both groups. 

PRRI also found that 38% of vaccine-hesitant Americans who attend religious services say a faith-based approach would make them more likely to get vaccinated. 

“That’s why ‘Keep the Faith, Get Vaccinated Florida’ is working with local faith leaders as trusted messengers to get out the word and build trust in the vaccine,” McKinnon said. 

McKinnon said the campaign is approaching the work from a spirit of bipartisanship. 

“The vaccine is a bipartisan effort that was put together in the most amazing, short time frame by the Trump administration and facilitated by the Biden Administration,” he said. “Vaccinations just shouldn’t be a political matter.” 

Contact Sydney Boles at sboles@wjct.org, or on Twitter at @sydneyboles.

Copyright 2021 WJCT News 89.9. To see more, visit WJCT News 89.9.