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Black religious leaders promote COVID-19 vaccine: ‘God has used scientists’

MIAMI – A group of local Black religious leaders, including a Haitian American, met on Wednesday in Miami-Dade County to promote the COVID-19 vaccine campaign.

Rev. Carl Johnson, of 93rd Street Community Baptist Church in West Little River, told a small crowd that he is tired of the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t want it to develop anymore; I want it to decline to no more,” Johnson said. “I don’t want it to surge anymore; I want it to sink to no more.”

Rev. Carl Johnson, of 93rd Street Community Baptist Church, spoke about his support of the COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday in Miami-Dade. (Copyright 2020 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

The meeting also included Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade commissioners, and other community leaders.

“Today, I am filled with hope,” Levine Cava said.

Two of the pastors received their first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

According to the Florida Department of Health, 3,307,323 people had completed the COVID-19 vaccine series in Florida as of Wednesday morning, including 403,603 in Miami-Dade County and 287,549 in Broward County.

Gov. Ron DeSantis expanded COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Florida to people who are 40 years old or older. Starting on Monday, anyone who is 18 years old or older starting will also be eligible for the vaccine.

“God has used scientists to come up with a preventive measure to finally get us through this pandemic,” Johnson said, adding that “there is a fear factor out here, and the fear factor is, some people don’t want to take the vaccine.”

Commissioner Oliver Gilbert, the former mayor of Miami Gardens, said there is nothing to fear because the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. He said he was already vaccinated.

“This is our way out, and that’s not just for the Black community. That’s for every community,” Gilbert said. “If we don’t find a way to get a vast majority of this community vaccinated, it’s going to be very difficult to have the economy we had before. The spiritual life that we had before ... This is our way out.”

FDOH REPORTS

Florida Department of Health report on COVID-19 vaccines distributed in Florida. (FDOH)
Florida Department of Health report on COVID-19 vaccines distributed in Miami-Dade County. (FDOH)
Florida Department of Health report on COVID-19 vaccines distributed in Broward County. (FDOH)

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About the Authors:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.

The Emmy Award-winning journalist joined the Local 10 News team in 2013. She wrote for the Miami Herald for more than 9 years and won a Green Eyeshade Award.