Weld County Latino Coalition Brings COVID Vaccination Clinics to Communities to Promote Vaccine Equity – CBS Denver


GREELEY, Colorado (CBS4) – Thousands of Latinos in Weld County have been vaccinated against COVID-19 thanks to the tireless work of the Latino Coalition of Weld County. The coalition, led by longtime Latino residents of the rural county, was approached by Gov. Jared Polis’ office to promote vaccine equity by organizing essential immunization clinics in Latin American communities.

(credit: CBS)

Stacy Suniga, chair of the Latino Coalition of Weld County, said Latinos in Weld County have helped provide essential goods to the Coloradans during the height of the pandemic. Many Latinos in Weld County continued to work during the quarantine shutdown, helping to produce meat and vegetables while often working closely together.

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“Weld County has a large population of Latinos. We are agricultural. We have a lot of Latinos who come to work in the fields, to work in the beef factories, ”Suniga said.

Many of these workers have fixed incomes, working hourly jobs that are unpaid if they are on sick leave. At one point, the White House and President Donald Trump were informed of a COVID-19 outbreak at the JBS Meatpacking facility in Greeley. The factory was closed after an epidemic, mostly among Latino workers, claimed the lives of several people.

Suniga and her team have been asked to help set up mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinics in rural communities in Weld County in an effort to encourage more Latinos to get vaccinated for free.

“Our mission is to uplift and support Latinos in our community,” Suniga told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas. “We knew there was a lot of fear and misconceptions with the vaccine among Latinos.”

(credit: CBS)

As part of CBS4’s mission to raise the voices of Latinos every day, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month, the Weld County Latino Coalition invited CBS4 to follow them as they traveled to several small towns. for vaccination events.

A large bus, which has been converted inside to be a makeshift health clinic, is now operating in County Weld. From big cities like Greeley to small towns like Eaton, CBS4 took viewers to see how the coalition was effectively reaching those who were initially hesitant to get the shot.

Among the many blockages some Latinos have to navigate was the issue of transportation. Some members of the community do not have the time or the means of transport to be vaccinated in hospitals in large cities.

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“Transportation is a problem for some people with limited income. So this bus has been a lifeline for a lot of people, ”said Juanita Martinez Rocha, a Latina from Weld County who recently received her COVID-19 vaccination.

Martinez Rocha said the mobile vaccination clinic’s ability to reach isolated communities promised additional protection against the deadly virus for many people who were initially unable to get vaccinated.

“When that bus arrives, it gives them the opportunity to come to their neighborhoods,” said Martinez Rocha.

Martinez Rocha said mobile clinics also offer some Latinos greater protection and security compared to a formal environment like a hospital.

“Some who are undocumented, they don’t feel safe in places like this,” Martinez Rocha said.

(credit: CBS)

Feeling more confident in her ability to avoid serious illness from COVID-19, Martinez Rocha said she was just one of many Latinos in Weld County who are grateful for mobile vaccination clinics.

Suniga said her team will continue their work to strengthen vaccine equity in remote corners of the state, adding that they will travel to the edges of the Colorado border to have anyone in the community immunized, whatever his race.

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“It is a virus that will not discriminate,” Suniga said. “This is what we want to do. This is to ensure that all communities, especially our Latin American community, have access and the capacity to stay healthy during this pandemic. “

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