CLEVELAND — Reverend Otis Moss Junior fought for civil rights alongside Martin Luther King Jr. Now, he's combatting mistrust of the COVID-19 vaccine, shared by some of his parishioners.
Otis Jr. and 19 other Cleveland clergy called upon by MetroHealth to help spread accurate information and allay fears, by getting the vaccine on video.
"I would hope that if there are any anxieties in the nation, community the world, that we will be able to overcome them quickly so we can overcome this pandemic," Rev. Moss, says in the MetroHealth video.
There is a history of racial inequality in healthcare and those old enough to get the vaccine now, remember the clinical experiments people of color were subjected to.
But there's another history too.
The polio vaccine was given out at Sunday church services. These pastors, they represent the future too.
"They are symbols of the progress that has been made and they are symbols of that generation who fought for the right to be treated equally and this is a way to show our community that the vaccine is available to them and they should seriously consider it,"said Dr. Akram Boutros, president and CEO of MetroHealth.
All of the clergy members who have taken the vaccine are over age 65, and the vaccines were done before the Governor's age guidelines were in place.
Dr. Boutros thinks this may have been more important, however, when it comes to the difficulty they're having difficulty scheduling people in minority communities in Cleveland.
"I've instructed my staff to go out onto the sidewalk if they have to, to give someone who wants one a vaccine, we will not waste one single dose," Boutros said.
"The vaccine is a blessing," Rev. Moss said.