DALLAS - First Baptist Dallas will hold a COVID-19 vaccination clinic after Sunday services later this month.
The church, led by Dr. Robert Jeffress, is offering church members a chance to get the shot on May 16 and is a direct effort to address vaccine hesitancy among some of its congregation.
First Baptist officials wrote on their website they hope people who aren’t vaccinated yet take advantage of the opportunity.
"Dr. Jeffress, using CDC data, urges Christians who are fearful of COVID-19 to get the vaccine because it is nearly 100% effective and is the best way for churches to fully open," states the event page on the church website.
Several polls conducted in the past few months show that evangelicals are among the most vaccine hesitant group in the United States. A Pew Research poll found 45 percent of white evangelicals said they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine. That was the highest among the religious groups polled by Pew.
Jeffress is fully vaccinated and has spoken previously about how vaccines can help resume life for churchgoers. But he is aware of vaccine hesitancy among his congregation and others.
"I’m not forcing anybody to get the vaccine. That’s your choice. But what I am saying is if you are not back yet, and would like to come back, one option is to take the vaccine, and therefore you don’t have to worry about what other people do or don’t do here in the church," Jeffress said in a statement.
First Baptist is partnering with Dallas County Health and Human Services for the vaccination drive. It asks those interested in getting their first shot to register ahead of time. People wanting to get their second dose do not need to pre-register.
The Moderna vaccine will be offered and church officials said they will host a follow-up clinic in June so those who participate can get their second dose at First Baptist.