UC San Diego researchers launch program to combat COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy

Vaccine Older Adults
Posted at 12:58 PM, Sep 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-02 20:49:00-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Researchers at UC San Diego have launched an outreach program to help increase COVID-19 vaccinations among San Diego County's Latinx and African American communities.

The program, called Project 2VIDA!, is funded by a $3 million grant from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. The program is one of five programs aimed at combating vaccine hesitancy funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Project 2VIDA! will study individual, social, and contextual factors that contribute to health disparities impacting the Latinx and African American communities.

"There is no genetic predisposition to COVID-19 — people of color are severely impacted because of social determinants of health and disparities that have not been addressed," said Argentina Servin, principal investigator for Project 2VIDA! and assistant professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego School of Medicine. "In a high-income country like the U.S., we should not see these disparities and gaps."

Project members are going door-to-door to homes and local businesses to hand out fliers and educate locals on the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We catch people during their lunchbreaks, or while they run errands with their kids," Servin said. "By coming to them, we’re not only making the vaccine as accessible as possible, but we’re also showing these communities that we respect and care about them."

Pop-up vaccine clinics will be set up in communities including San Ysidro, National City, Chula Vista, Logan Heights, Lincoln Park, and Valencia Park. They will be open two to three times a week and offer COVID-19 vaccination and testing, HIV testing and glucose and blood pressure screenings, and offer kits with face masks, antibacterial gel, and thermometers.

The walk-up clinics will only require a visitor's name and contact information.

“Even for individuals who are interested in getting vaccinated, many work in jobs with long or unpredictable hours, which make scheduling an appointment difficult. We need to address the many inconveniences and fears around pursuing health care,” said Servin.

More information on Project 2VIDA! can be found on the program's Instagram page.