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Churches want to save young souls with COVID-19 vaccines

Charlotte-area churches are targeting young minorities ages 12 to 49 to get vaccinated to prevent losing a generation.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There's a renewed effort from the church pews underway to get more younger minorities vaccinated and informed about COVID-19 in Mecklenburg County.

"We're not only trying to save souls but we're trying to save lives those who may not understand the extent of this COVID," said Dr. Betty Erwin, who is the moderator of the United Missionary Baptist Association.

The UMBA, which is teaming up with Atrium Health to share information and give vaccines, has more than 60 churches in and around the Charlotte area and the North Carolina Piedmont that are planning to participate. The drive will include two clinic locations that will be open on Saturday, August 7 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.:

  • The Park Expo & Conference Center (800 Briar Creek Road, Charlotte, headed by Bishop Claude Alexander)
  • First Baptist Church- West (1801 Oaklawn Avenue, Charlotte, headed by Dr. Ricky Woods)

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The churches are calling it a Youth/Young Adult Vaccine challenge. They're specifically focusing on people between the ages of 12 and 49 years old who they say have been especially tough to reach because of misinformation and fear. 

"We're losing people. They're in the hospitals and mainly between that age number. If we don't watch out and reach these people we're going to lose a whole generation," said Erwin.

Though the drive is free and open to the public, the first 25 church members who show up to get vaccinated will be entered into a drawing for a $100 gift certificate. The UMBA church with the highest number of participating members will also win $500 to fund a ministry of their choice.

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Erwin, who received her vaccine during an earlier Moderna trial, has two granddaughters who put off getting theirs until both contracted COVID. Now, Erwin says they're vaccine advocates. She hopes to see the same trend in younger people who will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves next month.

"When I try to project and say 'this is what you need to do', they weren't listening, but now they are listening and they are helping me to pass the word," she said.

Contact Fred Shropshire at fred@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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