Chambers Co. pastor, microbiologist encourages COVID-19 vaccination

Updated: Dec. 15, 2020 at 12:40 AM EST
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CHAMBERS CO. Ala. (WTVM) - An East Alabama pastor and professor of microbiology is encouraging his congregation and community to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Frederick James said he has heard about the hesitations some people in the area have about the vaccine.

James is both a professor of Microbiology at Southern Union State Community College, having extensively studied virology, as well as pastor of a Chambers County church.

“I want to tell you with my background, having a background in science and also as a pastor, I firmly believe [the vaccine] is safe for multiple reasons,” James said.

He said the form of the vaccine makes a difference. This is an mRNA vaccine, which means it doesn’t use the live virus that causes COVID-19.

“There is almost no way you could contract the virus from an mRNA vaccine,” James said.

Another concern James has heard relates to the Tuskegee Experiment, a study where hundreds of black men were deliberately not given medical treatment as part of a study to see what syphilis would do to their bodies.

“It wasn’t as some report, that they infected the individuals with syphilis,” James said. “That wasn’t what took place. What actually it was, they had syphilis and they failed to treat it.”

According to a Pew Research study, 61 percent of white adults in the U.S. say they would definitely or probably get the coronavirus vaccine. The study found 42 percent of black Americans would do so. James hopes this mistrust ends soon.

“The same doctor that’s going to give an African American the vaccine, is the same doctor that’s sees a Caucasian,” James said. “It’s the same doctor and the same vaccine.”

According to that same Pew Research study, those with higher family incomes say they’re more likely to get the vaccine, compared to families with middle or lower incomes.

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