By Alba Villarreal
Months after the FDA approved the first COVID-19 vaccine, there have been great efforts to vaccinate the majority of the U.S. population. While there are currently three COVID-19 vaccines now available, several Americans have yet to be vaccinated. The CDC has emphasized the importance of vaccine equity, but disproportionate vaccination rates continue to be an issue for marginalized communities.
The Hispanic population, especially, is one of the least vaccinated in the country, despite making up a large proportion of total COVID-19 cases and deaths. Nationally, 17% of all Hispanics are currently vaccinated. This is significantly lower than their white counterparts, who make up 61%.
Vaccination rates in Georgia show an even grimmer reality for the Hispanic community. Georgia continues to have one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 33.9% of its total population being fully vaccinated. Within that small margin of vaccinated individuals, only 8% are Hispanic.
Agencies like the CDC have created programs that incentivize vaccination, but they fail to reach the Hispanic community. When this happens, it is up to the community to address issues that serve as deterrents to achieving a fully vaccinated Hispanic population. Examples of major issues include misinformation, lack of transportation, and language barriers.
What can I do? a
- Promote factual information about the vaccine and prevent the further spread of misinformation by correcting or reporting any false posts.
- Provide transportation for anyone who needs it or use rideshare services such as Uber or Lyft, who are currently offering free rides to vaccination sites.
- Volunteer at a local vaccination site to ensure that there are enough bilingual staffers.
Widespread vaccine distribution, the lifting of mask mandates, and reopenings may have created the illusion of normalcy, but it does not deter from the disproportionate rates Hispanic populations are receiving the vaccine. The Hispanic community deserves to be reached and supported throughout an ongoing pandemic. The end cannot be reached until the community is helped.
Pham , Olivia, et al. “Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity.” Kaiser Family Foundation , 16 June 2021, www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-race-ethnicity/.
“GA DPH Vaccine Distribution Dashboard.” Georgia DPH , 14 June 2021, experience.arcgis.com/experience/3d8eea39f5c1443db1743a4cb8948a9c.
NOTE: The opinions expressed in this blog are the opinions of the author only. It is not to be assumed that the opinions are those of GALEO or the GALEO Latino Community Development Fund. For the official position on any issue for GALEO, please contact Jerry Gonzalez, CEO of GALEO at firstname.lastname@example.org.