Faith in the Vaccine: Sharing the Facts in Waco, Texas
I checked my phone, and there was that text message. “Baylor University’s Health Services: Your quarantine is effective immediately.” My roommate had just tested positive for COVID-19, and I was not looking forward to this quarantine, especially during a snowstorm in Texas. During that time, I empathized with other individuals who were quarantined earlier in the year and how bored they might have been. Like some, I continuously wondered how long it would take for a vaccine to be created and be distributed to the population. After my quarantine, and later during the year, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson were finally being given to specific age groups. From what I remember, many were ecstatic to learn there was finally a vaccine. However, when the vaccine quantities were available for many more age groups, that’s when individuals started becoming more hesitant. From that time until now, it seems as if politics plays a significant role in whether or not an individual wants to receive the vaccine rather than the simple reasoning of wanting to be safe and healthy and protect one’s entire community.
When I found out about the Interfaith Youth Core launching the Faith in the Vaccine Student Ambassadors project, I knew this would be an excellent way to have a lasting impact in my community and increase the vaccination rates in McLennan County, Waco, Texas. During our initial meeting with our cohort, we shared ideas about establishing a presence on social media before any physical forms of outreach. I learned how important it is to assign tasks and set deadlines to reach our goals throughout this process. Additionally, communication has been vital, as we post periodically regarding statistics and general information about vaccines, variants, and how to be protected and safe all around. Everyone’s passion within this cohort about how crucial it is to become vaccinated is very motivating. Soon, we hope to establish our presence in the different religious communities in McLennan County to inform individuals about the vaccine. We will be patient and give time to those who are hesitant, set up an event at our local farmer’s market, and provide resources for unvaccinated individuals who are curious about getting the vaccine.
Ruya Maredia is a COVID-19 Vaccine Ambassador with the Baylor University Green Cohort in Waco, Texas. She and her cohort have been working to create a social media presence by providing McLennan County with information about the COVID-19 vaccine. For more information, visit @fivawaco on Instagram and @FIVAWaco on Facebook.
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The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.