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Rev. Al Sharpton, Pastors Discuss COVID-19’s Impact On Black People

More than 100 of the nation’s most esteemed Black pastors, led by Rev. Al Sharpton and Rev. Calvin Butts III gathered during the Choose Healthy Life Black Clergy Conclave to discuss the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Black community.

The Conclave, which took place on Nov. 19, focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the progress that has been achieved to educate the public and increase vaccination rates in the Black community and how to sustain the effort.

The Conclave was hosted by Debra Fraser-Howze, founder, Choose Healthy Life (CHL) and moderated by Reed Tuckson, M.D., FACP, co-founder, Black Coalition Against COVID-19.

During the conclave, the pastors discussed the latest COVID-19 vaccine recommendations, boosters and shots for children; the power of the Black church to address health disparities on a local level and CHL’s community-based approach to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the pastors were briefed on the CHL Action Plan, which provides COVID-19 education, testing and vaccination through the Black church, a staple in the Black community for generations. 

“Covid-19 has exposed health disparities, and more disturbingly, the impact of misinformation among our own people. But I have looked beyond the horizon of today’s headlines. Sharpton, the National Action Network President said in a release. “After 750,000 deaths in America and more than 5 million worldwide, the pendulum is beginning to swing —and Choose Healthy Life is at the vanguard of that change.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Black Americans more than any other race in terms of infections and deaths. Additionally due to the skepticism Black Americans have for the U.S. medical community, vaccination rates were below those of other races, making the situation worse.

With the help of the United Way and Quest Diagnostics the CHL has been expanded from 50 churches in five cities to 120 churches across 13 states and Washington D.C. through funding from the U.S. Health and Resources Administration.

In addition to Drs. Walensky and Nunez-Smith, prominent public health leaders that attended the conclave included Dr. Leon McDougle, president, National Medical Association; Dr. Louis Sullivan, former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services; Dr. Tom Frieden, former U.S. CDC director, Resolve to Save Lives and Dr. Leon McDougle, president, National Medical Association.

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