Over the course of the past two weeks, the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics and Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County organized and distributed a four-part series of webinars on the importance of COVID-19 vaccinations. These webinars, titled COVID, Vaccinations, and Back to School, part of the Get Vaccinated Webinar Series, were designed to encourage those who have not yet been vaccinated to do so before students across Santa Clara County and surrounding communities head back to school in the fall.
Each webinar was structured around one guest speaker answering questions from their unique point of view. With perspectives ranging from Catholic priests to San Francisco street artists, the diverse line-up helped reinforce the importance of vaccines for people of all walks of life.
Moderated by David DeCosse, director of Religious and Catholic Ethics and Campus Ethics Programs, Amana Liddell ‘22, former Hackworth Fellow, and Don Heider, executive director of the Ethics Center, the webinars were held digitally on Tuesdays and Thursdays beginning on August 3rd, and replays of all four can be found on the Ethics Center’s Get Vaccinated Playlist on YouTube.
The first of the talks featured Father Jon Pedigo, director of advocacy and community engagement at Catholic Charities of Santa Clara County. Fr. Pedigo spoke on the importance of accessibility and cultural sensitivity when it comes to distributing the vaccine, specifically in the cases of marginalized communities and communities of color. You can learn more about vaccination outreach and the role of the Church in Fr. Pedigo’s webinar here.
The second webinar focused more specifically on schools, with Dr. Brandi Odom Lucas, the principal at Verbum Dei High School in the Watts area of Los Angeles, California as the headline speaker. Dr. Odom Lucas explained the roadblocks faced by schools as we head towards the new academic year, and the importance of vaccines to her school’s plan to return to some semblance of normalcy. To learn more about Verbum Dei’s plan for the new year and Dr. Odom Lucas’s thoughts, listen to the webinar from August 5th.
The next virtual event featured a spotlight on Gen Z attitudes towards vaccinations, with Jordan Tralins, Cornell student and founder of the Covid Campus Coalition, lending her own perspectives and experiences to the discussion. Tralins spoke on some of the popular misunderstandings among Gen Z students about the vaccines and gave some guidelines for students to follow when returning to classes in the fall. To hear insights from Tralins, check out the webinar from August 10th.
The last of the four-part series of webinars focused on the effect of individuals when combatting vaccine hesitancy. San Francisco street artist fnnch, creator of the popular Honeybear series, spoke about his contributions to the community and his philanthropic work, something he has been incredibly committed to since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Replay the webinar recording to hear about his work in the community and his efforts to encourage vaccinations for all.
More events in this series are on the horizon. Join us on September 16th to check in on the status of going back to school in Catholic schools with our special guest, Lincoln Synder, the President/CEO of the National Catholic Educational Association, and on September 30th we'll discuss the status of vaccines for kids under 12 and the impact the pandemic has had upon this age demographic.
Register to attend at: https://mysantaclara.scu.edu/mcae---get-vaccinated-back-to-school
Lucas Bush ’23, political science and ethnic studies major and a marketing and communications intern with the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, contributed to this story.