MERIDEN — St. Rose of Lima Church pastor the Rev. James Manship recently discussed his experience getting vaccinated against COVID-19. Anyone who gets vaccinated, Manship said, is doing a “real act of charity.”
Question: Can you tell me about your experience with scheduling the COVID-19 vaccine?
Answer: So recently in collaboration with the Community Health Center we had a vaccine clinic at the church last Saturday and leadership and the parish provided opportunities for people to help them enroll. So there were people after masses, during the week and the evening to sign people up. We also did the same thing through the parish office and posted the link on social media.
Q: How did you encourage people to get vaccinated?
A: It is part of our responsibility to provide for the common good and to take care of our neighbors to get the vaccine. I pointed out to the congregation the importance of wearing a mask as we still are doing. People who are unvaccinated, we are doing that for their well being because we can still transmit the virus.
Q: What vaccine did you receive?
A: I received the Moderna shot, but here we have been distributing Pfizer.
Q: Did you experience any side effects?
A: The second shot I experienced a slight fever and a little energy decrease, but with a Tylenol and taking it easy, I was fine the next day.
Q: How has the vaccine impacted your role?
A: As a pastor, as a priest, I am able to feel much safer to be able to attend to people who are sick and struggling and health compromised. I think by getting it I am promoting the vaccine and encouraging people to do the same. If they have any questions they should talk to a doctor, nurse, or a reputable medical person.
Q: How are you working to help educate people that may be worried about the vaccine?
A: I tell them to get information from reputable sources like doctors and nurses and Facebook and the internet are not always reputable. You have to look for where the sources are coming from.
Q: Did you have any concerns about the vaccine?
A: No, I did my research. I listened to the CDC. Sound science is revolutionary, and if anything comes out of this pandemic that will be one of the things. We got a quicker way of developing a vaccine, particularly for the most vulnerable.
Q: What are you looking forward to as vaccines roll out?
A: I hope eventually we will stop wearing the mask and start seeing each other's faces again. Covering up two-thirds of our face with a mask makes it difficult when you’re giving communion to people at church and you have a mask on. I always liked to smile. It is a great joy to watch people receive holy communion. To be able to sing again at church, because we’re conscious of not trying to transmit anything, we don’t sing anymore. Those are my hopes as more and more people get vaccinated.