Hispanic leaders tout building trust to overcome vaccination barriers


Mistrust, misinformation and a lack of access prove challenges for vaccinating Hispanic population

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Leaders in the Hispanic community said that population has been hit particularly hard by the spread of COVID-19. When enough vaccines become available, they said that community health centers could play a key role in getting vaccinations to vulnerable populations.

Experts said some of barriers to this population include mistrust, misinformation and a lack of access to those larger vaccination clinics.

To address that, leaders at places like Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center said they will be stepping in and using their community connections to increase distribution in the Hispanic community. Gil Munoz, who works at the center, said often times many folks in this population are concerned about providing too much information to medical facilities or hospitals for a variety of reason, including concerns over their immigration status or that of a family member.

He said unlike large vaccination clinics, health centers like Virginia Garcia have been in the community for over 45 years and have the trust and practice of reaching out to the population.

“This is a concern that we have with how accessible large mainstream events are going to be with populations that are already leery about accessing and providing information to authorities,” Munoz said.

Munoz said they are still a ways off from helping to vaccinating the general population so there is still time to plan that outreach. He said there are staff members in the 1a group that work with Virginia Garcia that will receive their vaccines this next week.

Munoz believes the next category that should be targeted for vaccination is essential workers–that includes a large number of people in the Hispanic population.

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