SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) - A new vaccination site opened in Vista, bringing the possibility of vaccinating 500 more people every day. Leaders say it’s small vaccination sites like this that are important for helping different people in the community get vaccinated, which is key for the Latino community.
San Diego County data shows just 15% of people vaccinated as of mid-February are Latino, despite the fact that Latinos make up 34% of the population and more than half of the positive cases.
Chicano Federation Chief Equity Officer Roberto Alcantar said there has been a big push to help the South Bay community, which has a dense Latino population and has been hit hard by the pandemic, but smaller vaccination sites like the one in Vista are also important. He said Vista, for example, has a higher population of Latinos who work in the agriculture industry, a group who will soon be eligible for the vaccine.
“They’re the folks making sure we get food on our plates, so we have to start thinking about bringing the access to those folks that are doing those essential jobs that might not be in the medical field but are very essential to our well-being as a community,” said Alcantar.
He said they started the San Diego Latino Health Coalition in September to help spread awareness on protection against COVID-19 to the Latino community. In recent weeks, they’ve shifted to education on the vaccination, hoping to debunk rumors and offer information.
“This is why we’re doing what we’re doing now. Our goal is to continue to provide the information to the Latino community so when more folks become eligible, they will be well educated, they will understand the facts about the vaccine,” said Alcantar.
San Diego County has also recently stepped in to help, helping orchestrate community groups that go into the Latino community and help with everything from making appointments to educating. Alcantar acknowledges that there has been progress recently.
“We have seen an increase in the number of calls coming into the resource center from the Latino community asking for help in setting up appointments and asking for information about the vaccine,” he said, saying that’s a step in the right direction.
He said they will continue to educate and inform, but warns that it will take time to reach everyone, and doesn’t want the Latino community to get left behind.
“We just have to remember that while the majority of folks will start to feel that hey we’re ready to go, most of us are vaccinated, things are looking better, we have to keep in mind that there’s still folks who are going to be left behind that we have to continue to support and we have to make sure they get vaccinated,” said Alcantar.