Here’s why the once vaccine hesitant are changing their minds

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Transport, translation and a reliable source of vaccine information has been one of the obstacles, but public health activists and a new initiative are working to overcome it.

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The El Milagro Clinic in McAllen, Texas has been instrumental in ensuring that patients receive accurate vaccine information and keep their appointments.

Retired laborer Zeferino Cantu is diabetic, has high blood pressure and has no health insurance, but he waited months to get the vaccine. They finally got their first shot at the clinic last week because they are more concerned about the virus than the side effects of the vaccine.


Speaking in Spanish, Cantu told Granthshala that the coronavirus is more dangerous because it can affect everything, even your mental ability.

The South Texas Clinic is one of 100 free and charitable clinics in 16 states that have received financial incentives. project finish line. The initiative aims to achieve a million “hard-to-reach unvaccinated” access to the vaccine. Since the initiative began in June, more than 115,000 people have been vaccinated, according to Project Finish Line and Sostanto CEO Joe Agoda.

South Texas, a region with a predominantly Latino population, has been hit hard by the pandemic. And nationally, Latinos have been hit hardest by the pandemic, but have been vaccinated at much lower rates than white Americans. When the COVID-19 vaccine was initially approved, some Latinos were skeptical and worried it would make them sick.

Latinos are among them Only two groups underrepresented In vaccination relative to its share of the US population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Latinos make up 17.2% of the US population, but 16.7% are fully vaccinated and blacks make up 12.4% of the US population, but only those who are fully vaccinated are 10.1%.
Earlier in the vaccine rollout, only a small percentage of vaccine providers were in the majority Latino zip code in Texas. There are fewer providers in rural areas, which has caused some Texans to travel long distances to get the vaccine.
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The importance of deep community ties

Sylvia Aguilar knows Cantu well, a retired laborer.

“He always told me I’d come back. I’m not ready,” says the eligibility administrator of the El Milagro clinic.

Several months later, he’s back as a city already hit by the pandemic saw a delta version of the boom like other parts of the US.

According to Sylvia Aguilar, families are getting sick and scared.

Families are getting sick and scared, Aguilar says. They don’t know where to go – a common obstacle here is getting vaccinated for those who need it most.

US Department of Health and Human Services estimated at about 44% Vaccine holdouts are persuasive, but even celebrating them can be difficult.

“I wanted to see other people’s reaction before I got it,” says Juan Manuel Salinas. “If they were okay, I would do it.”

Salinas just got his second shot.

And although the 55-year-old horse racing instructor’s daughter worked at the clinic, it took her months to convince her father to make an appointment and keep her.

"I wanted to see other people's reaction before getting this," Juan Manuel Salinas says.

“He had all the resources. I’d say do you want me to go pick you up? We do it for free here at the clinic and he’ll say ‘Yeah, I’ll go. I’ll go,'” says Brie Salinas, her daughter and at the clinic A financial manager, say.

On the mission of one lakh vaccinations

in june, Project Finish Line was launched by Sostanto. The non-profit organization was founded in 2019 to address the opioid crisis and serve marginalized and disadvantaged communities. The organization joined the pandemic response last year to help support access to care and testing.

“What we hope to achieve is getting the vaccine to the people who are on the fence,” says Agoda. “I call them ‘uneducated but willing’.”

In some communities, concerns about vaccination are not related to the vaccine itself. Some of the common reasons are lack of transportation and fear of missing work.

Agoda explains how the nonprofit partnered with a poultry plant in Georgia to set up a pop-up clinic. Workers were able to get vaccinated on Saturdays and were able to take Sundays off if they had side effects such as fatigue.

Joe Agoada is on a mission to improve accessibility for "Unconcerned but willing."

The initiative is providing funding for pop-up vaccinations in rural locations like Muniz, Texas, phone lines for community outreach and even helping to organize free rides offered by Uber. has been

Agoda says, “We hear about people who take the bus to and from work every day and they can’t take a day off from work and they really need help with that transportation bottleneck. ”

And for clinics like McAllen’s, persistence and patience work best.

“It gets to the point where employees feel like they’re going to have what looks like a broken record,” says Marisol Rezendez, executive director of the El Milagro Clinic.

“They’ll come around, there are a lot of people who are willing that they don’t have the tools that are information resources.”

Granthshala’s Carolyn Sung contributed to this report.


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