East Ala. pastor, microbiologist discusses vaccination experience

Updated: Mar. 8, 2021 at 5:34 PM EST
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LANETT, Ala. (WTVM) - An East Alabama pastor and microbiologist, who’s been outspoken about his support of the COVID-19 vaccine, has received both doses himself and is bringing a message to the community about the experience.

Dr. Frederick James is one of more than 370,000 Alabamians who have received both doses of the vaccine.

“It’s really a relief,” he said. “It’s really a relief.”

James is the pastor of Pilgrim Baptist Church in Lanett, as well as a professor of microbiology at Southern Union State Community College. He has extensively studied viruses and has also been outspoken about his support of the vaccine since day one.

“I think I’m like everyone else,” James said. “I’m ready to return to normal or some sense of normal, and the best way to do that is through vaccinations.”

Now that he’s fully vaccinated, having received that second dose a week ago, he said he’s even more enthusiastic about the vaccine.

“The process of getting vaccinated was smoother than I even imagined,” he said. “It makes it easier for me to encourage others to get vaccinated.”

He said he still hears concerns about the vaccine among his congregation and the community, such as the speed of its development and other factors.

“Some people, of course, have the hesitation as it relates to the Tuskegee experiment, especially those of minorities,” James said. “African Americans have some hesitancy as it relates to any type of government medicine.”

James said he understands having some reservations.

“I don’t mind a wait-and-see approach, as long as it’s a wait-and-see approach and not a ‘never me’ approach,” he said.

James said he believes we have a responsibility to our community to get vaccinated, eventually, and hopes his experience and his background in faith and science will make others more comfortable receiving that shot.

“It’s an easy process, and I would say that it’s now time for us to arm up, roll up that sleeve and get vaccinated,” he said.

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