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Faith-Based Response to COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has wreaked havoc on our nation and world. We have been in a time of concentrated grief and lasting illness. Yet, we are not without hope or an answer. As the virus continues to spread and more variants are discovered, people of faith can play an important role in helping to end this historic pandemic that has claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands in our nation and millions globally. Vaccines have provided us with a way out of this nightmare and a way forward to living into the new normal.

According to the latest research faith leaders can successfully encourage people to get vaccinated. Some people have indicated that certain religious approaches made them more likely to get vaccinated. They have responded favorably to these situations: - A religious leader encouraged you to get the vaccine. - A member of a local religious community you trust addressed your concerns about the vaccine or got the vaccine. - A healthcare professional from a local religious community you trust addressed your concerns about the vaccine. - A local religious community you trust held a forum to discuss the safety of the vaccine, challenged misinformation about the vaccines that you have been reading online, created informational materials that answer common questions about the vaccine, or provided assistance in getting an appointment to get the vaccine. - You could get the vaccine at a nearby religious congregation.

What is the Faith-Based Initiative?

An initiative for the Office of Minority Health to engage and communicate with faith communities and grassroots organizations, ensuring that local institutions, which hold community trust, have up-to-date information regarding health and resources in their area.

What are our goals?

To ensure more effective responses to health emergencies by strengthening collaboration between religious leaders, faith-based organizations, and the Indiana Department of Health. Resulting in more people enjoying better health, improved trust, and social cohesion.

What counties are we covering?

We will cover all 92 counties in the State of Indiana

The Faith-based Outreach Coordinator will work with the Office of Minority Health on reaching out to the faith-based communities to address COVID-19 messaging and vaccine hesitancy in their respective communities.  This is an opportunity for places of worship and fellowship to support and strengthen families in their communities by helping to address hesitancy and resistance to COVID-19 vaccination and to address other underline barriers that may exist for the communities IDOH serves.

Communication Advice

As with all courageous conversations, listen and acknowledge concerns. Share your personal vaccination story or experience. Demonstrate empathy. Educate by discussing the importance of all vaccines, not only for COVID-19. Make the recommendation that the person is vaccinated and support them in making a plan. Provide resources (see below) for people to look over and share with their loved ones as they consider getting vaccinated. Make sure everyone in your congregation or faith organization is sharing the same information from trusted sources.

Resources: 

Guide to Supporting Vaccine Confidence for Church and Community Leaders (HHS) https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/faq-and-guide-for-faith-and-community-leaders.pdf

Black Faith Community Vaccine Toolkit https://blackfaithvaccinetoolkit.org/

How to Address COVID-19 Vaccine Misinformation (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/covid-19/healthdepartments/addressing-vaccine-misinformation.html Faiths4Vaccines Resources https://faiths4vaccines.org

OHA 3592A Vaccine Facts for Muslim Faith Communities

https://sharedsystems.dhsoha.state.or.us/DHSForms/Served/le3592a.pdf

What Your Church Needs to Know to End the Pandemic https://nationalcouncilofchurches.us/resources-on-covid-19-for-churches/

We are all in this together. Working collaboratively with each other’s well-being in mind, we can make a difference and shine light in this darkness by getting vaccinated.