Collaborating for Vaccinations in Latinx Communities
Across California, COVID-19 disproportionately impacted Latinx populations. Larger proportions of people of color were getting sick and dying of COVID-19, and Latinx communities experienced lower vaccination rates and lack of access to accurate and up-to-date information. Due to historical systemic racism in and past and ongoing health injustices, many Latinx community members have questions about the vaccine and face barriers to vaccination.
According to a University of California San Francisco (UCSF) study, Latinx Californians faced death rates 14% higher than the general population, and research by the UC Merced Community Center found that immigrants’ increase in death was three times that of native-born citizens.
Together Toward Health faced a significant challenge in ensuring that those hit the hardest by COVID received the resources they needed to recover. Community-based organizations (CBOs) were crucial players in slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19. However, CBOs could not do it alone. TTH grantees partnered across sectors to staff, supply and host vaccination clinics in California’s most vulnerable communities.
For example, in June 2021, the United Against COVID-19 Coalition, which includes TTH grantees Lideres Campesinas, Jakara Movement, Dolores Huerta Foundation and others, successfully coordinated a vaccination clinic with KGET, Telemundo, Bakersfield College and Kern Medical in Bakersfield. Local reporters invited viewers to their television studio to receive their first dose and take part in protecting themselves, their family and the community.
We’re urging everyone to get the vaccine because if we all get it, we’re going to build community immunity. It’s very important because we’re still seeing cases of COVID-19 and we’re still seeing people dying in the hospitals. If we could avoid one, two or three more deaths, we’ve done our job here.
Reyna Olaguez, United Against COVID-19 Coalition
Despite a hot day, reporters were out every hour encouraging Kern County residents to stop by their free vaccine pop-up clinic. This special collaboration of medical staff and broadcast journalists vaccinated 178 people who had been putting off the vaccine.
By June 2021, the coalition had directly reached thousands of individuals in Kern County’s Latinx communities. The UAC Coalition educated vulnerable populations, distributed PPE and provided a range of other services in a variety of languages through culturally responsive outreach.