The National Council of Churches (NCC) in the United States is helping IAMSCU’s initiative on Global Vaccine Equity. The NCC has been part of a Jewish, Christian, and Muslim coalition called Faiths4Vaccines which has been working for several months on similar issues. Among their goals is helping houses of worship become vaccination sites by connecting them with partners such as local and state health departments and/or pharmacies. Faiths4Vaccines has held frequent meetings with the White House as well.
All of this has led to the plan for a Faiths4Vaccines National Summit on May 26, 2021 from 1 to 4 pm EDT. President Joe Biden has been invited and a number of administration leaders, including Dr. Frances Collins (National Institutes for Health – NIH) and Dr. Fauci (National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases –NIAID) are expected to participate. The NCC expects to have at least 2500 participants from the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim communities in the webinar, which will address the themes “Ensuring Equitable Vaccine Access for All”, “Addressing Hesitancy”, and “How to Utilize Your House of Worship/Faith Center as a Vaccination Site.” The White House has turned to the faith community as a trusted partner to complete the final and most difficult aspect of the pandemic: getting at least 70% of the US population vaccinated.
The National Summit will be the largest multi-faith gathering to support equitable and far-reaching vaccine distribution in the United States. Faith leaders and faith-based organizations in attendance will receive training, resources and empowerment to engage their communities to ensure equitable vaccine access, combat hesitancy and potentially use their houses of worship as vaccination sites. Faith leaders, faith communities, and medical professionals are leading efforts to respond, recover from the unprecedented health crises facing our nation and the world. Now, equipped with a life-saving vaccine, there is a chance to bring this devastating, and all the suffering it has caused, to an end. Now is the time to partake in open and honest dialogue between faith leaders and county, state and national health officials to identify opportunities for faith-based institutions to further engage and support local communities to increase vaccination rates.