Charlotte churches hoping to save lives and souls with vaccine pop-up sites

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CHARLOTTE, NC (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – As Mecklenburg County health officials warn things will get worse before they get better Union Missionary Baptist Association is teaming up with Atrium Health to get more people vaccinated against COVID 19.

Giselle Veliz is rolling up her sleeve to protect herself and others from the deadly virus. She survived the disease back in November and says while she’s concerned about the reaction from the vaccine she’d rather be safe than sorry. “It was really bad.

It was like, you know, like thinking that you might die,” Veliz said. “I just want to make sure that I’m protected this time.” Close to 20 people showed up to do the same thing inside the gym of St. Paul Baptist Church. Union Missionary Baptist Association hosting three pop-up vaccination sites in locations populated with African Americans.

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Dr. Betty Erwin is one of the organizers and says they’re targeting age groups between 12 and 49. “If they’re out there, and they’re scared, and they just don’t think it’s worth it, or they think some gimmick is behind it. And it’s not real. It is real. “ Erwin said. “We’re not only trying to save souls, we’re trying to save lives.”

It’s a challenge between 60 pastors and their congregation to get more young people vaccinated. Right now local health officials say hospitalizations and COVID cases are rising. Mostly between people unvaccinated and between the ages of 18 and 49. 12.4% of people getting tested for COVID in the county are testing positive.

Meantime 54 percent of people in Charlotte are at least partially vaccinated. David Cuadrado is 25-years-old and was another person rolling up his sleeve. He’ll be attending UNC-Charlotte in the fall and is ready for things to get back to normal. “We should all, you know, chip in to basically, you know, help get rid of this thing and kind of get back to normal life,” Cuadrado said. People who got the Pfizer vaccine will receive their second shot in two weeks by Atrium Health doctors.

One church will win $500 for having the most members participate and three people will win $100 gift cards for getting their first shot.

“We don’t want to see them being hospitalized or losing their lives so if we have to do it again and again, and again. We’re standing on truth and we’re standing on the promises of God,” Erwin said.

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