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'God also gave us the science': Des Moines faith leaders encouraging COVID-19 vaccinations

Leaders for Des Moines faith communities have launched a public awareness campaign to increase trust in vaccines among minority populations.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Faith leaders across the Des Moines metro expressed they are tired of watching congregation members become ill or die from COVID-19.

In response, leaders from several churches launched a public awareness campaign to increase trust in vaccines among the Black, Latino, Asian-American, and other minority populations.

These are the groups of people that statistics show are not getting vaccinated.

Bobbretta Brewton, a volunteer for Americorp Initiative said her goal is to help others.

“I was here during polio and all of that and I’ll tell you the families just marched down to the health center and got children vaccinated," explained Brewton.

When asked the difference between then and today she said, “I think the difference today is that it’s become a political football. And those of us that know better need to speak louder and be more encouraging.”

RELATED: White House COVID-19 vaccine coordinator says state has 'a lot more' Iowans to vaccinate

La-Tica Paige, a minister at Corinthian Baptist Church in Des Moines, said she and the pastor are encouraging their congregation to get vaccinated.

“If their inner circle is not getting it, ‘Well, my friends aren’t doing it.’ But in a family where people are getting the vaccine you may see an increase of people getting the vaccine," said Paige.

The top reasons Brewton and Paige hear of why people aren't getting vaccinated is fear of side effects and said the vaccine was produced too quickly. 

Vaccine information from coronavirus.iowa.gov showed 45% of white people are fully vaccinated, while 24% of Black people are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.

This is something Dr. Ravi Vemuri, with MercyOne Des Moines, said is a constant struggle.

"Hospital healthcare is very diverse so sometimes we try to employee those individuals to help in getting the message across," said Dr. Vemuri.

Faith leaders in the metro are also planning to hold vaccine clinics in their neighborhoods in October. 

WATCH | Coming to a festival near you: Doctor says mobile clinics can help combat vaccine hesitancy 

RELATED: Many faith leaders say no to endorsing vaccine exemptions

RELATED: Pope questions vaccine skeptics, including cardinals

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