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Don’t Throw Away Your Shot

Posted: February 2 2021 at 11:37 AM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Ass't to the Bishop/Dir. of Connectional Ministries


Rev. Arlene Christopherson receives her first dose of the vaccine through a community program launched by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

United Methodists in Northern Illinois have been living under the Wesleyan banner of “Do No Harm” for almost a year now with the pandemic, suspending in-person events such as worship, programming and so many other community activities we hold dear. We are not out from under the threat of the virus, even as our state does better in managing the spread. However,  with the rollout of a vaccine over the past month, we can now become proactive in combating the spread.

As lay and clergy leaders in our communities, we can help set the pace for an active response to the pandemic. Making a conscious decision to receive the vaccine is our call to action. Last week I was invited to receive my vaccine through a community program launched by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.  By stepping up to be in the first group vaccinated by Rush, faith and community leaders were asked to testify to the experience and encourage others to follow their example. 

During the event, we heard from religious leaders from many traditions who shared the common theme that humankind is made to be in community and by caring for ourselves, we commit to caring for the whole. 

Stepping up to take a new vaccine can be intimidating. Even navigating the system to find the vaccine can be a chore. Our black and brown communities, disproportionately affected by COVID-19, also experience greater reluctance in receiving the inoculation. Mistrust, concern, and difficulty in obtaining a vaccination appointment are real. Each of us needs to respond at our own comfort level while also helping others to do the same.

I took my shot (first dose) and I can report that while I experienced a sore arm and a few joint aches afterward, overall, the process was smooth. Many counties are now offering the vaccine to clergy as part of the Phase 1b rollout, and many other designated groups are now eligible to be vaccinated. 

We can help those eligible in our churches and community find the vaccine and make their decisions. Go to your county website for local information. Sign up for alerts. Offer encouragement and resources. Click here for an interactive map of vaccination sites by zip code. The City of Chicago is partnering with the Zocdoc online scheduler for people to find vaccination appointments when they’re available.  Click here for the link.

For more information to share, check out the  Illinois Department of Health Services' vaccination FAQs. Want to know more about preparing your church for re-opening? View the NIC's ReTurn Team Plan here.

Help others live out the call to “do no harm” by taking an active role to inform, encourage and stop the spread.

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