LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — The COVID-19 vaccine is affecting certain people in much different ways.
“Never has a Rabbi been so happy to be in church!”
Rabbi David Wirtschafter of Lexington’s Temple Adath Israel was clearly giving me a little “schtick,” but his point was well-taken. Wirtschafter had just been given his first of two doses of the coronavirus vaccine inside Consolidated Baptist Church on Russell Cave Road. The church has been hosting weekly vaccine clinics for several weeks, but Friday’s had a little added meaning.
Mayor Linda Gorton assembled a city vaccine task force whose members promised, among other things, to launch a campaign aimed at raising awareness about the safety of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines.
On Friday, with Gov. Andy Beshear in attendance, the “Lex Do This” campaign rolled out with faith leaders across the community rolling up their sleeves to lead the way.
“When you see clergy, whom they seek to follow, stepping up and getting the vaccine and then publicly saying, ‘hey, it’s okay,’ that trust level is inching up,” said Reverend Richard Gaines.
That was one very distinct goal establish by the “Lex Do This” campaign members. But there’s more to it than that as there are legitimate concerns that the vaccine might not reach those in areas of the city and state where access to health care across the board continues to lag behind.
“While COVID-19 didn’t cause these inequities, they were created over hundreds of years, it has brought them into stark focus,” Gov. Beshear said before Friday’s clinic began.
Let’s face it; there’s a vested interest in making sure this vaccine reaches the masses, remains color blind and knows no income level. It’s also critical that everyone feel confident in its safety and efficacy.
“Somebody that people look to with confidence, and as an example of doing the right thing,” Gov. Beshear said of the faith leaders in attendance. “That’s why their willingness to step up and take this shot of hope is so important."
There was a feeling of symbolism during today’s gathering, in a church. One of the first things Gov. Beshear had to eliminate was in-person worship once the virus began spreading across the commonwealth last March.
“For that, in particular, the Governor has my 100% support. The last thing I wanted to do was become a hot spot for the pandemic especially among our senior members,” Reverend Gaines said.
“Our building is closed, but our congregation is open,” added Rabbi Wirtschafter.
“Lex Do This,” they hope, will get us closer to opening that building.