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Health professionals and leaders have warned communities about the racial and economic inequities worsened by COVID-19. Vaccination is an essential tool in public health that must be used effectively to protect people, communities, and populations from serious illness, complications, and even death. However, COVID-19 vaccination has become a complicated problem in the United States due to inequalities, hesitancy, or the reluctance or refusal to vaccinate. Despite multiple studies of vaccine safety and its benefits, there is still hesitancy among U.S. citizens, particularly in the Latino community.

Studies show that Hispanics were hit harder by the economic effects of the pandemic being that half of Hispanic adults say their household has lost a job or income since Covid began spreading. Also, they were overrepresented in covid cases as a result of four in ten Hispanic adults being essential workers and therefore required to work outside their homes during the outbreak. Yet, there still remains a portion of Hispanics that are hesitant to vaccinate regardless of these situations.

The disparities that Latinos encounter puts them at a higher risk of getting COVID-19. For example, their living and working environments can put them at an increased risk of getting COVID-19. Specifically, Latinos in the United States were three times as likely to contract Covid-19 and twice as likely to die from it compared to the general population. According to the Pennsylvania Covid Tracking Project, Hispanics/Latinos were most likely to have contracted Covid-19. However, Latinos remain one of the largest groups to be hesitant about getting vaccines. Some reasons why Hispanics have expressed concerns with vaccines are due to lack of health insurance, limited transportation, language barriers with providers, not receiving factual information regarding vaccines, and mistrust in physicians, public health officials, and political sources. Families and communities can help address these concerns by supporting each other. For example, community members can carpool together to vaccination sites to assist individuals who lack a form of transportation.

There have been some encouraging improvements over the past few years when it comes to getting Latinos vaccinated since the start of the pandemic. There has been an increase in health networks and community leaders who are coming together and making resources more accessible for Latinos to receive proper vaccination. To make community members more comfortable, the people administering the advice and shots are culturally and linguistically catered to the communities in which they are serving. These networks are also expanding their outreach efforts to these communities to ensure information is spread properly. For example, non-profit organizations like Esperanza are ensuring that the community has access to COVID-19 vaccination and testing kits. Currently, the staff are working to address misinformation and disinformation by providing factual information about the COVID-19 vaccine. Specifically, Esperanza has been working with community members to create COVID-19 health materials in English and Spanish. Additionally, they have a COVID-19 vaccination hotline for community members to call or text if they have questions (267)-587-6192.

It’s important to stay up to date on your COVID-19 vaccination and encourage others who may be hesitant to get vaccinated. Vaccination is the best way to protect your health and those around you and it has been shown to provide a more reliable immune response than getting sick with COVID-19Vaccination has played a huge part in prevention, which has also been shown to dramatically lessen the severity of any symptoms that may arise should you get the virus. It is also important to be aware about new information regarding vaccines, especially with new variants expected to continue to come out. Pfizer and Moderna have developed updated bivalent vaccines due to the original ones being no longer authorized in the United States, protecting you against the original virus and Omicron variants. Those ages 6 and up are recommended to get one of the updated vaccines regardless of their Covid vaccination history.

The COVID-19 guidance has changed many times, which can cause more doubt among the Latino population. However, the CDC has taken initiatives to improve the messaging around COVID-19 vaccine recommendations. Currently, higher-risk individuals have more flexibility so they can choose to receive additional doses of the vaccine for added protection. New recommendations allow adults ages 65 and older and anyone ages 6 and older that are immunocompromised to receive an additional updated bivalent vaccine shot.

Although Covid cases may be lower as we approach the Summer, it’s essential to remain vigilant, encourage vaccination among people who are hesitant, and remember the risks of Covid. There are a multitude of resources out there to help you get vaccinated. You can go to your local pharmacy, clinic, or healthcare provider to get the help you need or go to https://www.vaccines.gov/. COVID-19 is still present so we must take the necessary precautions to remain healthy.


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