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Information Roadblocks To Vaccinating Idahoans In Latino & Latina Communities

Richard Villalon
Adobe Stock

Latino and Latina communities continue to face higher rates of infection and death from COVID-19. Now community organizers are working to combat a new obstacle: fear around getting the vaccine.

Last week the Ventanilla de Salud, a joint community outreach project between St. Luke’s Health System and the Mexican Consulate, published the state’s vaccine rollout plan in Spanish.

The translation was shared within a network of community organizations, but some groups say there are still challenges to reaching primarily Spanish-speaking populations with factual information. Skepticism is another concern.

Credit Diana E. Gómez Romero, CHW / Bilingual Outreach Coordinator

“It seems to come from a history of resistance to vaccinations in general, and there are some people that will point to certain parts, for certain types of vaccinations throughout American history,” said Sam Byrd from the Centro De Comunidad Y Justicia, a nonprofit advocating for Hispanic Idahoans.

Byrd’s group is one of the small organizations addressing the apprehension of getting immunized. They’re partnering with health care nonprofits and doing things like giving out children’s books on hand-washing, distributing PPE equipment and meeting farm workers face-to-face.

“We're also talking with people about what's going on, their general feelings and whether or not they know about the vaccination, whether you know what their feelings are,” said Byrd.

Byrd also said religious ties influence perceptions and a lot of apprehension is generational. But he’s found younger groups seem more willing to get the shot.

As vaccines continue to roll out to other groups further down the priority list, it seems like the task of distributing the vaccine to Latina and Latino farm workers will rest on community groups like these, and employers.

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