WASHINGTONWashington National Cathedral will host an event featuring remarks from National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci, and the public vaccination of D.C.-area faith leaders on Tuesday, March 16 at 5 p.m. ET. The event will help demonstrate trust by faith leaders of all denominations in the COVID-19 vaccines and encourage Americans to get the shot when it is their turn, especially for communities of color who are at higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease, and those who remain vaccine-hesitant.

The event will also feature remarks from Dr. Eliseo Pérez-Stable, Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; Melissa Rogers, director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships; The Rev. Canon Leonard Hamlin, Sr., Canon Missioner of Washington National Cathedral; The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral; and The Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.

The event will be held inside the nave of the Cathedral—the main worship space. After remarks, a diverse group of 25 interfaith clergy from across the Washington, D.C. region will be vaccinated on camera. They represent houses of worship spread across Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; Arlington County, VA; and the City of Alexandria, VA. Their participation sends a message to diverse faith communities across the country that they trust the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective.

Black and brown communities have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Due to misinformation, mistrust resulting from historic injustices, and disparate experiences with the healthcare system in the United States, many in these communities remain hesitant to get the vaccine. The representation of multiple faith leaders of color at the event—each of whom will be getting vaccinated on camera—will send a message of trust in the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness from reliable messengers rooted in these communities.

“As a house of prayer for all people that sits at the intersection of the sacred and the civic, we couldn’t think of a more important role for the Cathedral at this time than helping encourage all Americans to get the vaccine when it’s their turn,” said The Very Rev. Randolph Marshall Hollerith, Dean of Washington National Cathedral. “For those Americans who remain hesitant, it is critical for clergy to exercise their leadership by demonstrating the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness. We’re pleased to have this opportunity to convene faith leaders who are committed to doing just that.”

In their remarks, the speakers will discuss the importance of getting vaccinated, and highlight the individual- and community-level benefits of having everybody do so when their turn comes. Each will speak briefly, followed immediately by the administration of the vaccines on camera to the gathered clergy inside the Cathedral. All participants will be masked (when not speaking) and socially distanced.

“My NIH colleagues Dr. Fauci, Dr. Pérez-Stable and I are honored to participate in this important event with leaders of all faiths in our common goal to build trust in COVID-19 vaccines that have been proven to be highly safe and effective,” said Dr. Collins. “Getting all adults vaccinated is how we will together end this terrible pandemic. It’s a ‘love your neighbor’ opportunity.”

The full event will be livestreamed at this link, and media are free to use the livestream with credit to Washington National Cathedral. All media inquiries about this event should be sent to Tony Franquiz at [email protected] or 202-374-5393.


About Washington National Cathedral
Grounded in the reconciling love of Jesus Christ, Washington National Cathedral is a house of prayer for all people, conceived by our founders to serve as a great church for national purposes.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.