Local organization increasing vaccine access for minorities

NOW: Local organization increasing vaccine access for minorities

ELKHART, Ind.-- At one point in the pandemic the Hispanic population made up nearly 50% of COVID-19 cases in the area, which is why there is such a big push to overcome vaccine hesitancy and misinformation in the community.

 “As soon as the vaccine was available here for us to get, I signed up for that,” said Elkhart Resident Julia Rodriguez.

Julia Rodriguez is a part of Elkhart’s Hispanic community, after losing a family member during the pandemic she said she didn’t hesitant to roll up her sleeve.

But that’s not the case for some in the same community, with many still reluctant to get vaccinated.

“The main reasons around the hesitancy, I will say number one is they point that vaccinations will make you infertile so that is one of them, number two that is the funniest one, but is growing is that you’re going to become a zombie,” … “A lot of information that doesn’t have any support.” said Liliana Quintero.

Liliana Quintero, the executive director of the Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition said they’ve been working to combat misinformation.

A 3 million dollar health grant that was awarded to help provide more resources to communities of color, was rejected by Elkhart County officials after facing backlash from some residents that feared the funds could be used to manipulate communities.

But Quintero believed that the funds could have only helped their efforts.

“That three million dollars would make a huge difference in educating the community and give them the opportunity to make an informed decision,” added Quintero.

Quintero said with or without the money they will continue their community outreach and make getting the vaccines at their clinics as comfortable and accessible as possible.

“They don’t feel comfortable going to these places because they don’t feel welcome. They know that there is going to be the language barrier,”… “During our clinics we are not asking for ID we are not asking for any kind of documentation we are just want to increase the rate of vaccinated people in our area,” she said.

The coalition is holding another free drive-thru vaccine clinic Oct. 9.

To register click this link.

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