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Bilingual vaccine clinic in Boise seeks to address inequity in access

A person leans out of the passenger door of a car, and with a rolled up sleeve gets a vaccine from a medical provider.
Idaho Immunization Coalition
Idaho Immunization Coalition
Idaho Immunization Coalition provides drive-thru vaccine clinics to the community.

The Mexican Consulate in Boise is hosting a bilingual drive-thru vaccination clinic this Saturday to provide equitable access to care in underserved communities.

The Idaho Immunization Coalition, St Luke’s and Idaho State University’s College of Pharmacy will provide vaccines at no cost to anyone who shows up. Spanish-speaking medical providers will be there to help those who might avoid accessing care because of language barriers.

Kim Guevara, the health equity coordinator for the Coalition, said sometimes children have to interpret for their non-English speaking parents.

“Not everything gets translated and they just feel like they don't receive the care and attention that they require and deserve,” she said. “There's really that missing piece there.”

A new report from the CDC shows Hispanic, Black and Native Americans are at higher risk of being hospitalized for the flu. They also receive vaccines at lower rates than the national average.

This bilingual event hopes to bridge that gap.

“The reason why we're having it at the consulate is because that is a safe space for the Latinx community to gather,” she said. “It's a place that they trust.”

Idaho Immunization Coalition
Spanish flyer used by the Idaho Immunization Coalition to promote their bilingual vaccine clinic at the Consulate of Mexico in Boise.

“The community is very much about having conversations and talking to people and, you know, building that relationship,” she added, “so it's hard to do that when you have a language barrier.”

The event is on Saturday to accommodate the schedule of migrant field, dairy and farm workers who work long hours and may otherwise not be able to get shots during regular business hours.

The drive-through clinic will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot of the Consulate of Mexico in Boise. The event is open to anyone, and flu shots, COVID-19 vaccines and boosters will be provided for free, with no need to have insurance.

As the Canyon County reporter, I cover the Latina/o/x communities and agricultural hub of the Treasure Valley. I’m super invested in local journalism and social equity, and very grateful to be working in Idaho.