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South Side Church To Hold Vaccine Clinic In Area With One Of Chicago's Lowest Vaccination Rates

CHICAGO (CBS) -- In a South Side ZIP code with one of the lowest COVID-19 vaccination rates in the city, one church is trying to flip that -- now even offering gift cards to people who get the shot.

But as CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas reports, it may take even more than that to change minds.

"This is where I am every Sunday morning," said Rev. Charles Rogers.

Rogers, the pastor at Greater Mount Vernon Baptist Church in Auburn Gresham, doesn't just preach the Bible from the pulpit.

"Each week I also give out addresses to where the vaccine is being administered," he said.

The church is in ZIP code 60620, where only 36% of residents are vaccinated.

When he posted online about a vaccine drive at this church this weekend, he got a mixed reaction online.

"One comment was I must be the devil because I'm bringing the vaccine in the church," he said. "I thought that was the most weirdest thing I've ever seen or heard."

But it's not weird enough to stop him.

"They can come in have a seat here," he said.

This Saturday, the church basement will become a vaccine clinic with the help of the state's public health department. The church also partnered with Door Dash to offer $25 gift cards to the first 200 people vaccinated there.

"It shows people that ... I get to protect myself and I get a little extra on the side," Rogers said.

But Annette Anderson said it's not the gift card that will draw her there Saturday. Her doctor recently told her she should get vaccinated to protect her because of her underlying health conditions. She said she was hesitant at first.

"I didn't get enough information on it, and I needed to read up on it some more," she said.

Her family also helped convince her it was safe, including a cousin who works at the church.

"I guess if they look like more people are getting it now then maybe they'll be convinced to get it," Anderson said.

Rogers hopes to get 200 people vaccinated Saturday.

As for the person who called him the devil?

"If I'm saving lives then I'm glad to be the devil," he said.

The church says they prefer appointments for Saturday, but they'll also take walk-ins.

The drive will go from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 87th and Laflin.

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