Indianapolis city leaders, faith leaders ‘Sleeve Up’ and get vaccinated

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis city leaders and faith leaders joined together Thursday to show confidence in the COVID-19 vaccine.

They sat down, “sleeved up” and got vaccinated at the Marion County Public Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination site.

They came with a mission in mind.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, county health director Dr. Virginia Caine, Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili and others got the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine Thursday.

“I am very pleased and proud to be joined by public officials and faith leaders to demonstrate to everyone that they should get the vaccine as soon as they are eligible,” the mayor said.

The shots in their arms are a show of confidence in the vaccine.

“This vaccine is safe and has contributed to the significantly lower number of cases and deaths in Marion County, Indiana,” Caine said.

Faith leaders including Ronald Covington, a pastor at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, rolled up their sleeves and got the shot, too.

“Because our parishioners look to us for direction and for faith, and I think it’s necessary that we show them that our trust is in God, but also in medical science,” Covington said. “That’s why we’re here.”

Some Hoosiers are still hesitant about getting the vaccine. Especially among some minority groups including Indiana’s LatinX and Black communities.

“So much of it has to do with a lack of, I think, a lack of trust in our system, a lack of trust in the medical system, a lack of trust in providers, and there has been a history that many of us know about from our parents or our grandparents; things like the Tuskeegee experiment,” Osili said.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“The more that we do these kinds of events, and the more examples that individuals see, people who look like them. I think it reduces that hesitancy, and that’s our goal. How do we get more people vaccinated,” Osili said.

Marion County Public Health Department says vaccination is a critical step in slowing the spread and helping Indiana recover from the pandemic.

If you are eligible and want to get a COVID vaccine, go to or call 211 to get started.

This weekend will mark one year since the first confirmed virus case in Indiana. The State Department of Health on Thursday reported 32 more Hoosier deaths, bringing the toll to 12,231.