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El Paso County, Catholic Diocese work together to get people vaccinated at churches

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- As El Paso inches closer to reaching herd immunity, county leaders are trying to find new ways to reach those who haven't received their shot. One tool they say has been successful is a partnership with the Catholic Diocese of El Paso.

"We're really having difficulty in getting people to get vaccinated and not so much hesitancy as convenience," said El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego.

Judge Samaniego said people who have held off getting vaccinated may reconsider if vaccine clinics are set up outside church facilities, especially if they are already there attending Mass.

"A church that a person belongs to, or is in the middle of a neighborhood, is a place that is well-known," said Bishop Mark Seitz. "People are familiar with it. It's a place that people feel at home in a certain way."

Judge Samaniego said the Diocese can help fight hesitancy since people look up to religious figures.

"People are now looking for voices that they can trust. And of course, you know how I feel about the Bishop and his trusting voice," he said. "We're told that that's the best way to reach people is to give people that are trusting."

The Diocese has hosted seven vaccine pop-up clinics at schools and seven more at local parishes.

"It's very consistent with the gospel message to say, you need to really be reflecting in your love for those around you," Bishop Seitz said. "What is for the common good for the good of all? And so even if I don't like shots I'm going to participate in what the community is calling me to."

The Diocese and County Judge are now looking for new and creative ways to keep the partnership going to ensure El Paso reaches herd immunity.

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.


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