Tarrant County plans to work with Black church leaders to ease fears over the COVID-19 vaccine

The Tarrant County judge and a commissioner said they're leaning on Black pastors in the county to help instill confidence in the COVID-19 vaccines.

It's how they plan to tackle fears some may have over vaccine safety.

Some things, like a vaccine PSA and virtual town hall meetings, are still in the planning stages, however, county leaders said they hope to "lead by example" as a form of encouragement for minority communities.

Commissioner Roy Brooks rolled up his sleeve to receive his initial dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. He did so just after Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley.

"The shot was easy to take, it was painless," Brooks said.

Brooks is hoping to send a strong message to African American communities in Tarrant County.

During Tuesday’s commission meeting, he interacted with the county’s public health director, Dr. Vinny Taneja, about key factors in a planned awareness campaign to dispel myths about the vaccine.

"Have you had any discussion about using churches, especially in the African American and Hispanic communities?" Brooks asked.

"We’re trying to get the word out to start some virtual town halls with them to get the message out about the vaccine, it’s efficacy and safety and why they need to take it," Dr. Taneja responded.

Some church leaders echo that plan.

Pastor Jack Crane at Truevine Missonionary Baptist in Fort Worth is already talking to his parishioners about the vaccine. He says he’s in touch with other church leaders doing the same.

"For us, it’s prayerful and it’s moving with a level of belief that this is going to be the best thing for us right now," he said.

Crane said he will also get the vaccine publicly, as soon as he’s allowed to.

"When communities see pastors leading, pastors taking the vaccine, pastors working, sharing, then it’s easy for them to join in because they can see something that's transparent and real," he added.

"I would urge everyone, that as soon as the vaccine is available to you, take it. It’s the best way to protect yourself and to protect your families," Brooks said.