Latino advocacy group helping with vaccine messaging

Diana Swiga
Posted at 12:56 PM, Feb 04, 2021

There’s information out this week about who has received the vaccine so far.

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), white Americans received the largest portion of vaccines. They made up 60% of those who received the shot between December and January.

African Americans made up only 5.4% and Hispanics made up more than 11% of those who received the vaccine.

Now, groups are figuring out how to make sure people of color get the right information, so they want to get vaccinated.

Experts with UnidosUS, a Latino advocacy organization, say the their community has a huge need for vaccines.

“Latinos are essential workers. They're out in jobs, putting themselves at risk, and their families at risk. They have seen first-hand the impact that COVID has made on their livelihood as well as their family,” said Rita Carreon, VP of Health at UnidosUS.

Getting the vaccine will provide protection for these communities, but many Latinos are hesitant to get it for a number of reasons.

In general, the community has a lot of questions about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine. Also, family plays a huge part in Latino cultures. But it also plays into one of the concerns among Latina women.

“One of the myths is, ‘Does the vaccine impact my childbearing if I’m in childbearing years? In terms of my chromosomes or things like that.’ So, these are the things that we need to make sure that our communities are well aware of about the efficacy around the vaccine,” said Carreon.

That's why UnidosUS says it's important to have trusted sources within the community to spread correct and accurate information about the vaccine. These trusted sources can be community health workers.

“Community health workers that live in the community, breathe in the community, and really are having the same issues and understand the lived experiences of our communities, and can be able to help facilitate a peer to peer approach to educate them about the vaccine and information of where to go, how to go about it and make appointments,” said Carreon.

Doctors are also seen as a trusted source, but they may not be able to reach people without health insurance.

UnidosUS says there's also a language barrier, which is why they say it's important to have a bilingual hotline available, as well as information that's not only available in Spanish, but is also culturally relevant.

Also they say it’s important to make sure this information isn't only available online, since not everyone has internet access.