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Pastor encouraging Black residents to vaccinate

Posted on March 1, 2021

Local newsTop newsCOVID-19
The Rev. Thomas Walker, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, receives his COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday. Walker said he wanted to be vaccinated in front of news cameras to help encourage local Black community members to get their shots.

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The Rev. Thomas Walker, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, receives his COVID-19 vaccination on Thursday. Walker said he wanted to be vaccinated in front of news cameras to help encourage local Black community members to get their shots.

ROCKY MOUNT — A well-known civil rights leader has received the novel coronavirus vaccination to encourage others to do the same.

The Rev. Thomas Walker, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church for more than four decades, said he wanted to receive his COVID-19 vaccination in front of news cameras to help encourage the local Black community and others to get their shot.

Walker has spearheaded several health initiatives in the Black community, including publishing a book to encourage older men to get an annual prostate exam. 

A member of the Twin County Hall of Fame, Walker was the first Black man elected to serve on the Edgecombe County Board of Commissioners. He received an Order of the Long Leaf Pine award from Gov. Jim Hunt in 1981 in recognition of his activity during the civil rights era.

Walker received the vaccine dose Thursday morning at a vaccination clinic set up in the church parking lot.

Franklin Vance Warren Opportunity recently hosted a virtual discussion to gain insight into how the Black community has historically viewed vaccines and the current concerns surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Blacks are more likely to get sick and die from COVID than their white counterparts but also have more hesitancy and less access to the vaccine that can protect them,” said Uriah Ford, spokesman for the community action agency that serves Nash and other nearby counties.

As of Friday, Nash County has seen a total of 9,171 coronavirus cases with 166 deaths.

The total number of hospitalizations at Nash UNC Health Care was 18 as of Friday.  

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