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How one of Detroit's churches is tackling vaccine hesitancy to help combat Michigan's Covid-19 surge

April 5, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 50.7%. 2 min read.

When Pastor Kenneth J. Flowers took to the pulpit on Easter Sunday, tapping a tambourine along with a choir singing "he got up," the morning represented resurrection in more ways than one.

His wife, Terri Flowers, was in the hospital with the virus at the time, as well.

But this Resurrection Sunday, about a year later, was different -- in part due to Flowers telling his congregants to get vaccinated against the virus.

Some political leaders -- including President Joe Biden, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan -- have called on faith leaders, especially in communities of color like Flowers', to urge their congregations to get vaccinated.

Terri Flowers said she and her husband tell churchgoers that getting the vaccine is "painless. "

for over nine days last year this same time, I can only say to those who have not been vaccinated, please, it's OK to be vaccinated. "

Flowers is just one of the faith leaders helping to fight a surge of coronavirus infections in Michigan by encouraging people to get vaccinated.

"In the earlier days I was even a little hesitant myself but I had to look around me to understand that people are coming in getting vaccinated," he told CNN.

He said the community's shift in attitude could be a result of the church holding its own vaccine clinic in mid-March.

The church vaccinated over 200 people at its clinic, according to Flowers.

Flowers described multiple congregants who credited his guidance as the key reason why they got vaccinated -- including an 85-year-old woman who told him she did not plan to get the vaccine until hearing a recent sermon of his.

"There have been people who told me, I wasn't going to do it Pastor, but after hearing from you, I decided to go ahead and get vaccinated, so I praise God for that. "

Some members of the community said they believe progress has been made in terms of getting people more people vaccinated and wearing masks to help combat Covid.

"I think in communities of color, we're moving forward in this area," said church member Sandra Sloan, who said she's encouraged her family members to also get the vaccine.

This year's Resurrection Sunday service had a smaller in-person crowd, as many congregants have continued to watch the church's services online, Flowers said.

"There's always going to be someone with some type of doubt," Terri Flowers said.

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