[Episcopal News Service] The Episcopal Church has joined the United States government’s new program to encourage Americans to get COVID-19 vaccines and build confidence in their safety and efficacy. The church is one of over 275 founding members of the Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 Community Corps – a nationwide network of trusted voices that will help get the word out to their communities.
Recognizing that people are most likely to follow the advice of a person or organization that they already have a trusting relationship with, the corps has enlisted a wide variety of partners, including dozens of religious groups. Along with The Episcopal Church, the Diocese of Washington and Washington National Cathedral are members in their own right.
On March 31, Washington Bishop Mariann Budde met with Vice President Kamala Harris to talk about the program.
“Along with seven other faith leaders, I was invited to meet with the vice president to discuss coordinated efforts for COVID vaccination distribution, the lasting effects of the pandemic on children and, as faith communities, [how] we can help our people heal,” Budde said. Representatives of The Episcopal Church also participated in a call with Harris, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and the other members of the program on April 1.
The program will provide corps members with fact sheets and social media messages to spread to their communities, as well as regular updates on vaccine information and other resources.
The Episcopal Church has encouraged church members to get the vaccine when they become eligible. The church’s Office of Government Relations has developed a toolkit for individuals, congregations and ministries to facilitate and promote COVID-19 vaccination, and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry has recorded a video statement about the personal and collective importance of getting vaccinated.
In addition, dioceses are undertaking their own efforts, like the vaccination clinic the Diocese of Pennsylvania held in March for its clergy and essential church workers.
Correction: An earlier version of this story gave the wrong date for the in-person meeting between Bishop Mariann Budde and Vice President Kamala Harris.
– Egan Millard is an assistant editor and reporter for Episcopal News Service. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.