Local health professionals trying to address Latino community's concerns about COVID vaccine

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Commercials and reminders about getting the COVID-19 vaccine are constantly spotted throughout the community, but many Latinos still have questions and doubts.

"Sometimes when we do a video or send fliers, it doesn't let them ask the questions about their experience or family setting or what they need to know," says Genoveva Islas, executive director of Cultiva La Salud.

Islas says people in the Hispanic community, especially immigrants, have always kept their guard up and are not easily convinced to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

"They are living at the margins, paycheck to paycheck, the last thing they want to worry about is deportation or instability for their family at this time," Islas says.

Islas is a part of the Covid Equity Project, and they're working on focus groups to better understand how to approach the Latino demographic.

They've learned education and cultured approaches are the best way to motivate Latinos with doubts about getting vaccinated.

"It really takes the Dona Maria, the Don Juan in the neighborhood who say 'Mira me vacune y me fue bien'. The more approaches we can open up for them to have with doctors and nurses and others vaccinated are the best approaches," Islas says.

It's a process Islas says is worth it when it comes to helping a community that is vulnerable.

RELATED: Latinos make up majority of COVID-19 deaths in California, Valley counties

Central Valley native Assemblyman Dr. Joaquin Arambula is on the same page and believes educating and supporting them is how insecurities will be diminished.

"I think it's important for us to be able to get both culturally and linguistically important information into the hands of our community," says Arambula.

Both agree that with the state increasing its vaccine doses and eligibility, the mission to continue vaccinating minority and rural communities continues strong, even if it takes a little longer to educate anyone with any question.
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