DALLAS - First Baptist Church in Dallas, along with county officials, hoped to ease some of the resistance to COVID-19 vaccinations on Sunday.
Organizers were giving vaccines out to congregation members, as reports show that at least 40% of evangelical Christians are wary about getting a shot.
The clinic was a big success, with all 1,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine provided by Dallas County spoken for.
Many of the recipients were members of First Baptist Church who felt compelled to get the shot after hearing a sermon from their senior pastor.
The lobby inside the Dallas church was packed Sunday.
The crowd was a mix of church-goers and outsiders who weathered the storm to get their COVID vaccine.
"For prevention, to stop spreading the virus to other people and we're protecting ourselves," one person said.
The mega church partnered with Dallas County, which provided 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in an effort to reach evangelical Christians, who have been resistant to getting vaccinated.
"We at First Baptist believe that all life is sacred. It's a gift from God and ought to be protected," First Baptist Dallas Senior Pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress said.
Jeffress, a long-time spiritual adviser to former President Donald Trump, said getting vaccinated against the coronavirus should not be a political issue.
"I think we shouldn't see this as a Democrat or Republican initiative, it's an American effort to get our nation back to normalcy," he said.
The senior pastor told his 14,000-member congregation during a recent sermon that the CDC data shows the vaccine to be safe, effective, and best way for folks to rid themselves of isolation.
Nearly 25% of the congregation have still not returned to in-person service.
"I think an illegitimate reason for not getting the vaccine is a political one," Jeffress added.
Elliott and Nadya Deleon, members of the church, heard the sermon and decided to get vaccinated.
"To understand that it's a health issue, not a Republican or Democrat issue, it's something you should do for your health," Elliott said.
The couple said they're open to getting three young children vaccinated when they're eligible.
For now, only the Pfizer vaccine has been approved by the CDC for emergency use authorization for people 12 and older.
"Knowing that it's safe and doesn't go against anything and the boys they go to school, so I rather be safe if they come home with anything," Nadya said.
Jeffress said he's open to hosting additional vaccination clinics at the church since Sunday's was totally booked.
Those who got their first dose of the Moderna vaccine Sunday will return to the church in a few weeks for dose number two.