Public Health to mobilize Catholic Church for COVID-19 vaccination drive

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In an effort to get more people vaccinated, the Department of Public Health and Social Services will be partnering with the Catholic Church on island to encourage the faithful to get themselves and their families vaccinated.

Chima Mbakwem, the acting DPHSS chief public health officer, said working with the Catholic Church would help facilitate more vaccinations because Guam is comprised of almost 80 percent Catholics.

“Partnering with the church is actually reaching a larger group. And the church has been working with us in other aspects like contact investigation and helping us review some of the Catholic schools’ plans. So this is an ongoing partnership with the church,” Mbakwem said.

He added that having the Catholic church involved in Public Health’s vaccination drive and having vaccinations in the Catholic church’s own venues would help a lot in making COVID-19 vaccinations more accessible to more people all over the island.

Mbakwem said the priests can help spread the message of the importance of vaccination and the Catholic church’s physical assets can help host more vaccination clinics for the people.

“At the end of the day, they’ll be able to help us increase the number of vaccinated people to the targeted 80 percent of the population, or even more. That will take us to that herd immunity that we’re looking for and the church can help us a lot in getting to that number. This is a collaborative effort between us and them,” Mbakwem said.

DPHSS director Art San Agustin said dates have already been set for vaccination clinics at Catholic facilities.

San Agustin said that on May 8, there will be a vaccination clinic at the Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Yigo.

On May 15, there will be a vaccination clinic at the Saint Francis Church in Yona and on May 22 there will be a vaccination clinic at the Santa Teresita Church in Mangilao.

“We must do everything possible to increase vaccinations on Guam,” San Agustin said.

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