Florida pastor begs for people to get vaccinated after losing six church members in 10 days

Community and church leaders in Florida are begging for people to get vaccinated as Covid rates break records

Sheila Flynn
Wednesday 11 August 2021 23:17
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A Florida pastor has begged for higher vaccination uptake after losing six members of his Jacksonville church in just ten days as the state emerges as a current Covid-19 hotspot.

“In the last ten days, we’ve had six members of our church who have passed away from Covid; four of them were under the age of 35. All of them were healthy,” Rev George Davis told local NBC affiliate WFLA.

“The only thing they had in common? Each of them were not vaccinated. These were people that I know, that I’ve pastored,” he said. “One 24-year-old kid, I’ve known him since he was a toddler.”

The unfortunate reality at Impact Church is, tragically, not unusual. Florida recorded its highest daily count this week since the beginning of the pandemic, with 22,783 new cases on Thursday, 1,100 more than the state’s previous single-day case count recorded last Saturday, according to CDC figures.

Rev Davis made the comments the same weekend that, two-and-a-half hours away, another loyal churchgoer was being buried at Faith Temple Christian Center in Rockledge.

Marquis Davis, 28, was an unvaccinated member of Faith Temple’s congregation who contracted Covid and, on his death bed, expressed his regret at not receiving the jab. To honour him, his family turned his wake and funeral into a vaccination and testing opportunity, with dozens of mourners and community members taking advantage.

“People were actually leaving the funeral and going across the street and getting vaccinated,” Dr. R. Shaun Ferguson, who leads Faith Temple, told The Independent Saturday. Like Impact, his church had held vaccination events previously to encourage registration and commitment but efforts had never before been held “in conjunction with a funeral home or wake,” Dr. Ferguson said.

Like Rev Davis, Dr Ferguson told The Independent that the ages of Covid victims were beginning to draw notice in the community.

“What we’re seeing is more and more young people are dying,” he said. “Before, if you remember, it was just the older population – so I think it’s just opening the eyes of young people.”

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