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A woman arrives at a COVID-19 vaccination clinic outside the Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in southeast D.C. Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP

Black pastors have a new job on their plates during COVID-19: encouraging skeptical congregants to get vaccinated.

Why it matters: “There’s distrust in our community. We can’t ignore that,” Rev. James Coleman of D.C.'s All Nations Baptist told AP.

  • “The church, and particularly the Black church, is essential. ... That’s what pastors do.”
  • The Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in southeast D.C. has been designated a “faith-based vaccination partner,” with a portable vaccination trailer set up in the church’s parking lot twice a week, AP notes.

The big picture: Many Black seniors vividly remember medical exploitation horrors such as the Tuskegee syphilis study.

  • Peer-to-peer exchanges matter: “[T]hey're hearing from congregants ... who can speak to them about what they know and what they believe about the science and research and the value of taking a vaccine shot,’’ UAB School of Medicine Dean Selwyn Vickers told USA Today.

Between the lines: Black seniors also struggle with online registration systems and sitting on hold only to be informed that all appointments had been filled.

The bottom line: “In the spirit of love, keep at it until you get your vaccination," Rev. Wallace Charles Smith told his congregation in D.C.

Go deeper... Axios Today podcast: The political paralysis in Texas

Go deeper

Southern Baptists expel 2 churches over LGBTQ inclusivity

One of two churches ousted by the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee on Tuesday for being too inclusive of LGBTQ people is pushing back, saying "it is our commitment to share the love of Jesus."

Driving the news: Senior SBC leaders at a meeting the ouster of Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia, and St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, warned that the biggest Protestant group in the U.S. was "damaging itself" with disharmony on such issues, per AP.

Feb 24, 2021 - Health

California COVID-19 strain may be more infectious

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A new coronavirus variant in California is more contagious than the initial strain, two studies confirm, according to the New York Times.

Yes, but: Researchers still don't know whether this variant is deadlier, or causes more severe illness.

COVID's effect on textbook accessibility

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

For vulnerable students, the pandemic has worsened the problem of textbook access, according to a report released by Student Public Interest Research Groups.

The problem: With remote schooling, it's much harder to borrow someone's textbook or get a used book for cheap, forcing students to pay for access codes just to do their homework.