How black churches are promoting vaccines in New York

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Among black New Yorkers, only 48% of people aged 18 to 44 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, compared with about 60% of people 45 and older, according to city data.

“Generation Z and Generation Y have a different relationship with the institutional black church,” said Nichole R. Phillips, director of the Black Church Studies program at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. “If you have a generation that is not so present in the pews, it will have an impact on the use of the church as a place of public health education.”

Dr Easterling said city health officials know that outreach efforts in churches will primarily engage “an older population,” but he said such efforts to address vaccine reluctance may have a subsequent effect on young people.

“We know in particular that in black churches we have seen that it is mainly the older generations who have really focused on going to church in person,” he said. “We also see parents in their 40s and 50s, and they play an important role in talking to their teens and children. They share information.

More than one million people in New York have contracted Covid-19 and more than 34,000 have died since the city’s first confirmed case on February 29, 2020, according to city data.

That includes 175,751 black New Yorkers who contracted the coronavirus in October, or about 9% of the city’s black population, compared to 245,536 white New Yorkers, or about 7% of the city’s white population. According to city data, 31,108 black New Yorkers had been hospitalized from Covid-19 and 14,820 died from it this month.

The coronavirus has wreaked havoc in neighborhoods like Hunts Point, home to the Word of Life International Church, a Pentecostal congregation that Pastor Udo-Okon founded 21 years ago in his living room.


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