Helping rural communities get vaccinated

A local organization has been working nonstop since February, hoping to bridge the gap and help those in small communities access the vaccine.
DEL REY, Calif. (KFSN) -- Rural communities in the Central Valley have struggled most when it comes to getting the COVID-19 vaccine. A local organization, Cultiva La Salud, has been working nonstop since February, hoping to bridge the gap and help those in small communities access the vaccine.

"Brining the vaccines to them helps to overcome those barriers and make it a lot more accessible to them," said Executive Director Genoveva Islas.

Barriers such as language, technology, or transportation can be why someone doesn't get their vaccine even if they are eligible.

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"If you do not have a computer at home, those things affect how easy it would be to register. I think the gap that Cultiva La Salud fills is that we are known in small towns in Fresno County," Islas said.

Joe Austin and his wife Marilyn are from the small town of Laton. They've been waiting to find a place where the Johnson & Johnson vaccine would be available and preferably in a small community like Del Rey.

"It's been great, it's a small town, and they need it because we can't get to the big town or want to get to the big town," said both Joe and Marilyn.



Juan Munoz with Cultiva La Salud was raised in Del Rey. For him, serving the community he lived in hit a little closer to home.

"It feels like I am doing something right," said Munoz, "I grew up here, so I've seen this place go a long way. Letting them know and bringing vaccines feels rewarding."

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Thursday is the first day those 50 and older qualify to get the vaccine in California. Islas hopes this will bring more people in the small communities out to their partnered clinics.

"Increasing the eligibility and letting more people come in, we are excited because more people will come, and we will be able to serve more in the community," Islas said.

She says every vaccine counts to reach herd immunity and hopes those in smaller communities will feel supported when getting their vaccination.
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