If You Go to Church, Heed This Warning
2011 December 6
Recently the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, held an invitation-only call.
The call was co-sponsored by the U.S. Health and Human Services, the Office of Minority Health, and CDC.
Conspicuously, the end of the invitation read:
“This call is off the record and is not for press purposes” — but it became public when it showed up on the HHS website.
Fortunately one of our staff was able to get on the call.
The focus of the call was on getting faith-based organizations to sponsor flu clinics with Walgreens.
Basically, they want to move inside your church, mosque or synagogue, and set up shop, with your pastor, priest, imam and rabbi on hand to convince you to get a flu shot.
As an example, they cited a priest who stopped in the middle of mass to roll up his sleeve and get vaccinated, inspiring the rest of his parish to line up behind him.
Talk to God, Get a Shot
The idea of holding out your arm and getting a shot in the middle of a worship service, with your pastoral leader urging you on, really seems to be pushing it. The reason they’re doing this, health officials said on the phone, is that they’ve found that non-traditional settings such as worship services can be highly effective in influencing people’s decisions.
Speaking directly to church leaders, Joshua DuBois, executive director of the White House Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership, said:
“As trusted messengers, you’re able to spread messages and help get people vaccinated.”
Zeroing in on minorities, particularly older adults, blacks and Latinos, health officials said churches, mosques and schools are places where barriers to vaccinations can be taken down, and these minorities can be convinced to get vaccinated. Besides hosting flu shot clinics, churches can also help by putting reminders in their bulletins, and by church members personally reminding others to get their shots, officials said.
They even went so far as to encourage the churches to pay people’s insurance co-pays so they’d be more inclined to get the shots. For those who simply can’t pay anything, there’ll be 300,000 free shots given out as part of the flu vaccine crusade.