Reluctance to COVID-19 vaccine among Hispanic and immigrant communities continues
ORLANDO, Florida. – Although the rollout of the vaccine for Latinos and undocumented migrants has improved, concerns persist about the vaccine and its effectiveness.
“There are all these myths that it will change my DNA, will it have some side effects, how was the vaccine created and does it have some kind of negative effect depending on of my religious beliefs, ”Laura Pichardo Cruz, executive director of Hope Community Center in Apopka said.
Center continues to fight misinformation on social media about COVID-19 vaccine; they say health issues are still a topic among immigrant and Latino communities, including Jessica Ramírez.
“Cuando es algo nuevo es algo que quizás no sabemos si va a ser efecto o no, o si va a tener cosas negativas en tu cuerpo,” said Jessica Ramírez, originally from Mexico.
“When it’s something new, we don’t know if it will be effective or not – or if it will have a negative effect on our body,” she said.
Ramírez added that she had a lot of doubts, not least because there is a lot of negative information and mistrust about the vaccine on social media.
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After medical experts visited her workplace at the Farmworker’s Association of Florida, Ramírez said those concerns had become a thing of the past and that she was now fully vaccinated after educating herself and talking to doctors. Most of her family members have also received the vaccine, with the exception of one family member whom she is trying to convince.
The Farmworkers Association of Florida and the Hope Community Center have made efforts to provide immunization events and educational opportunities to minority groups.
“The pandemic has really highlighted some of the health disparities in our system,” said Neza Xiuhtecutli, ”said the general coordinator of the Farmworkers Association.
“Farm workers, in general, don’t have access to health care and they have a lot of barriers, including transportation, language. I think this is an opportunity for us to take a close look at these issues and see what we can do. “
Pichardo Cruz said the events made a big difference.
“We have noticed at these small gatherings that people have a completely different attitude when they can ask questions in their language and get very direct answers from a medical expert,” said Pichardo Cruz. “If you continue to have concerns, contact us. We will put you in touch with people who can answer your questions directly in your language.
Then there is always a misunderstanding regarding Florida’s requirements to be vaccinated. According to Hope Community Center, some immigrants and Latinos still believe they need to show proof of residency, a requirement that is no longer in place.
“The other side of the reluctance has to do with the residency requirements that were in place in the state of Florida,” said Pichardo Cruz.
Orange County Commissioner Mayra Uribe said officials are putting their efforts into mobile vaccination sites now that several vaccination sites in the county have closed, including the Orange County Convention Center and some centers Recreation.
“I still talk to people who say to me, ‘I’m scared And I said: What are you scared of? ‘No no no. I don’t know enough, ”recalled the commissioner.
Uribe said she also wants her community to know if you’ve recovered from the virus and don’t need a vaccine – you’re living with false hopes.
“We have seen people get sick more than once,” Uribe said. “I say that people are not reassured to know that. Rest assured by getting vaccinated and making sure you are protected.
In Osceola County, the fight to dispel doubts also continues.
“Our health department has focused a lot on the message to our Hispanic community of the importance of getting immunized. Now what we are seeing instead is why should I get the vaccine? Jeremy Lanier, public information officer for the county health department, said. “Some people are still confused that you know when it gets into my system, does it affect my DNA and that’s a realistic concern.”
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