ABINGTON, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Pastor Marshall Mitchell, of Salem Baptist in Abington, is leading by example. He received the first of a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine.
"I've probably encountered hundreds of people who are COVID positive and I was very fortunate to be designated as one of the frontline people," Mitchell said.
The pastor is a key player with the Black Doctors Covid Consortium. He says it's not a maybe but a must that Blacks get vaccinated, given they are dying at a higher rate from the virus.
"Right now, we're swimming against the current of American history. This is a country that has a very sorted and mixed bag on racial issues, and so now is probably the worst time to ask people to restore trust," Mitchell said.
Mitchell acknowledges the reluctance among Blacks to get the vaccine based on history. Yet according to the CDC, African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than white Americans.
He said faith leaders will play a major role in providing clarity and confidence in science.
We also spoke with the leader of the Black Clergy of Philadelphia. The organization, made up of 70 pastors, is also promoting the vaccine.
"COVID-19 was one of the deadliest plagues we've had, and we have to take this vaccine when it's made available to us," Rev. Robert Collier said.
Mitchell says it's not a Black or white issue, but he says for a chance those who didn't feel they had a voice to be at the front of the line.
"This is allowing people who are Black and brown, and poor, and people who are frontline workers often overlooked for people in the C Suite. This allows them to go to the front of a line for a resource," Mitchell said.