cloudy.png
Friday September 17th, 2021 11:15AM

Latinos face barriers like fear, language in getting vaccine

By The Associated Press

HIALEAH, Fla. (AP) — Rigoberto Montesinos, a veteran of the Bay of Pigs invasion in Cuba, was so worried about side effects from the COVID-19 vaccine that he initially wasn't going to get it, relenting only when two friends died from the disease.

But when he finally decided to get the shot, the 82-year-old couldn't find doses where he lives in Hialeah, a Miami suburb that's about 95% Latino. He got an appointment in nearby Miami Beach, but it was canceled. After struggling for weeks, Montesinos got his first dose last week.

"At my age, and with the virus spiking, I can’t be putting myself at risk,” said Montesinos, a Cuban exile who helped try to overthrow Fidel Castro in 1961.

From elderly Cuban Americans in Florida to farmworkers in California, Latinos face daunting barriers to getting COVID-19 vaccines, creating risks for public health as the coronavirus mutates and spreads.

America’s more than 60 million Latinos — like other people of color — have been disproportionately affected by the virus, and many are struggling with issues like a lack of knowledge about the shots, state vaccine websites that don’t have Spanish instructions, ways to find appointments in their communities and fears they could be targeted for immigration enforcement.

It comes as states, cities and counties are grappling with how to ensure people of color and other underserved communities are getting the vaccine, with some targeting vulnerable ZIP codes and working with community groups to sign people up. In Arizona, where language is a barrier for some Latinos and until recently English was the only option on the state website for vaccine appointments, a university researcher is working on an online Spanish language campaign to address vaccine misconceptions.

Latinos, like other groups, also are frustrated by insufficient vaccine supplies.

Montesinos' 70-year-old nephew, Luis Morejon, was still trying to get inoculated in the Miami area last week. He's a cancer patient, and he and his wife also have diabetes.

“We’ve spent a year hiding in this home,” Morejon said.

An AP-NORC poll of U.S. adults in late January showed about half of both Hispanic and Black Americans are extremely or very worried about themselves or family members being infected with COVID-19. That's compared with about 4 in 10 white Americans.

The poll says Latinos' willingness to get the vaccine is similar to the American public overall. About 65% of Latinos said they definitely or probably will get the vaccine when it’s available to them or that they already have received at least one dose.

With a tendency for health problems like diabetes, obesity and hypertension, Latinos are one of the groups at highest risk from COVID-19 in the U.S. It’s not just a problem for them, but for public health.

“The virus doesn’t differentiate, we need to vaccinate everyone,” said Arizona State University researcher Gilberto Lopez, who's trying to debunk vaccine misconceptions in Spanish. “Otherwise, it will just keep on mutating and we’re never going to get rid of it.”

In New York, married physicians Dr. Victor Peralta and Dr. Ingrid Felix-Peralta administered shots last week at a public housing complex through the SOMOS network that provides health care to low-income minorities.

“Latinos make up a large proportion of our front-line workers. They work at supermarkets, restaurants, food industry and they are working during the day so it’s hard to find time to get vaccinated,” said Peralta, a pediatrician.

Nellie Hernández, a 73-year-old Puerto Rican, said that after surviving throat cancer and seeing friends die from COVID-19, she was relieved to get her second dose.

“I go out and run my errands, and I feel a bit more secure,” she said.

Fear of deportation can be an issue for Latinos in the U.S. without permission, though the Department of Homeland Security says vaccination sites will be considered off limits for routine enforcement.

“We know that we don’t always get the correct address and phone number when we see patients," Peralta said about those at his pediatric practice.

Some politicians say people without legal status should not be prioritized for vaccines, even equating all Hispanics, a majority of whom are American citizens or legal residents, with the fraction of people in the country illegally. U.S. Rep. Debbie Lesko, an Arizona Republican, drew criticism last week after proposing an “Americans first” vaccine policy.

Along with fears of deportation, education also can be a problem.

Advocates for Guatemalan farmworkers in Lake Worth, Florida, north of Miami, said some migrants can't read or write in any language and most lack a car or driver's license.

The Guatemalan-Maya Center there has started a list of workers who want to be vaccinated and offered its offices as a possible site, assistant executive director Mariana Blanco said.

It's important to consider demographics when setting up vaccination sites, said Tomás León, senior vice president of the Arizona-based Equality Health Foundation. He said states need to collect information about the race and ethnicity of those getting shots to ensure equal access.

“Hispanics are overrepresented in coronavirus cases and more likely to suffer worse outcomes," he said.

Many vaccination sites are far away from underserved, high-exposed communities, León said. They're often drive-thru, requiring a car.

He said community organizations can help reach Latinos in hard-hit areas like Arizona's Yuma County, where they account for two-thirds of those infected by the virus.

“As efforts to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine continue, trust and acceptance of Hispanics will be crucial," León said.

In diverse South Florida, the sprawling Jackson Health System says nearly half of the 65,000 seniors it's vaccinated as of early February identified as Hispanic.

The hospital system has partnered with 55 churches, temples and community organizations targeting seniors in low-income, minority communities who have struggled using technology to sign up for a vaccine.

Madeline Barrios spent two recent Sundays with her clipboard outside St. Dominic Catholic Church near Miami's Little Havana, registering older people for the shots.

“I think people feel more comfortable, especially seniors, in person, asking someone they can talk to,” Barrios said.

___

Torrens reported from New York and Snow reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writers Kelli Kennedy in Miami and Hannah Fingerhut in Washington contributed to this report.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, Top General short headlines, AP Health, AP Business, AP Health - Senior Health, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Agriculture
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Latinos face barriers like fear, language in getting vaccine
Latinos are facing daunting barriers to getting COVID-19 vaccines, creating a risk for public health as the coronavirus mutates and spreads
9:27AM ( 10 minutes ago )
Muted Mardi Gras: Closed bars, barricaded Bourbon Street
Mardi Gras has arrived in New Orleans
9:20AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Winter's wrath: Bitter cold, no power and a deadly tornado
A tornado has killed at least three people in a seaside town in North Carolina, one of many wild and deadly impacts from a sprawling blast of winter weather across the United States
9:12AM ( 26 minutes ago )
U.S. News
Chinese vaccine arrives in Hungary, a first in the EU
A shipment of COVID-19 vaccines produced in China has arrived in Hungary
9:21AM ( 16 minutes ago )
Myanmar's Suu Kyi faces new charge as crackdown intensifies
A lawyer says police in Myanmar have filed a new charge against ousted leader Aung San Suu Kyi
9:14AM ( 23 minutes ago )
Smashing success: Djokovic beats Zverev, into Australian SF
Novak Djokovic has erased deficits in each of the last two sets and come back to beat Alexander Zverev to reach the Australian Open semifinals for the ninth time
9:06AM ( 31 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Bitcoin, seemingly omnipresent, crosses the $50,000 mark
After a wild week in which Bitcoin soared to new heights, Bitcoin is crossing the $50,000 mark
8:11AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden extends pandemic help for homeowners, renters wait
President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic
7:49AM ( 1 hour ago )
Deadly tornado in North Carolina; bitter cold sweeps Plains
North Carolina authorities say at least three people were killed when a tornado tore through a seaside town
6:58AM ( 2 hours ago )
AP National News
The Latest: Court orders Dutch govt to end virus curfew
A Dutch court has ordered the government to end the curfew it imposed last month to rein in the spread of the coronavirus, saying the ruling coalition was not entitled to use emergency powers to enforce the restrictive measure
5:19AM ( 4 hours ago )
WHO authorizes AstraZeneca's COVID vaccine for emergency use
The World Health Organization has granted an emergency authorization to the coronavirus vaccine made by AstraZeneca and Oxford University
8:44PM ( 12 hours ago )
The Latest: Fauci wins $1 million for "defending science"
Dr. Anthony Fauci has won the $1 million Dan David Prize for “defending science” and advocating for vaccines now being administered worldwide to fight the coronavirus pandemic
3:01PM ( 18 hours ago )
AP Health
CVS posts strong Q4 numbers, but pandemic weighs on results
CVS is reporting surprisingly strong profit and revenue numbers for the fourth quarter, though the pandemic dragged adjusted operating income down by 21.8%
8:13AM ( 1 hour ago )
Biden extending ban on housing foreclosures during pandemic
President Joe Biden is extending a ban on housing foreclosures to June 30 to help homeowners struggling during the coronavirus pandemic
7:25AM ( 2 hours ago )
Global shares extend gains on global optimism, vaccine hopes
Global shares are rising, lifted by the economic recovery, vaccine rollouts and signs that new coronavirus cases may be abating
3:48AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Business
Ultra-Orthodox Londoners roll up sleeves to fight COVID
As people across England huddled indoors amid freezing temperatures and a national lockdown, almost 300 elderly men and women lined up outside a health center in northeast London to be vaccinated against COVID-19
1:13PM ( 1 day ago )
Nursing home disclosures taint Cuomo's pandemic performance
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces intensifying accusations that he covered up the true death toll of COVID-19 on nursing home residents
9:46PM ( 2 days ago )
Lauded early in pandemic, Cuomo now panned on nursing homes
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces intensifying accusations that he covered up the true death toll of COVID-19 on nursing home residents
11:05AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Health - Senior Health
Millions without power in Texas as snow storm slams US
A frigid blast of winter weather across the U.S.  has left more than 2 million people in Texas without power
5:06PM ( 16 hours ago )
World stocks rally, bringing Japanese market to 30-year high
World shares have started the week off with a rally, as Japan's Nikkei 225 index closed above 30,000 for the first time since 1990
12:10PM ( 21 hours ago )
The Latest: Vaccine makers figuring out tweaks
The makers of COVID-19 vaccines are figuring out how to tweak their recipes against worrisome virus mutations — and regulators are looking to flu as a blueprint if and when the shots need an update
11:16AM ( 22 hours ago )
AP Business - Industries
The Latest: Minnesota officials urge proper mask wearing
Minnesota health officials urged this week that people wear masks — and wear them properly — as the state reported an additional 964 new infections on Saturday
4:34PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: Mardi Gras muted in New Orleans by coronavirus
New Orleans’ annual pre-Lenten Mardi Gras celebration is muted this year because of the coronavirus pandemic
1:11PM ( 2 days ago )
The Latest: States await vaccines ahead of federal sites
The Biden administration plans to open 100 vaccination sites by the end of the month
11:20AM ( 2 days ago )
AP Business - Agriculture
Muted Mardi Gras: Closed bars, barricaded Bourbon Street
Mardi Gras has arrived in New Orleans
9:20AM ( 17 minutes ago )
Winter's wrath: Bitter cold, no power and a deadly tornado
A tornado has killed at least three people in a seaside town in North Carolina, one of many wild and deadly impacts from a sprawling blast of winter weather across the United States
9:12AM ( 26 minutes ago )
Vigorous preparation returns as Biden calls other leaders
A familiar ritual is taking shape in the Biden White House
6:27AM ( 3 hours ago )
Vaccine delays leave grocery workers feeling expendable
As panicked Americans cleared supermarkets of toilet paper and food last spring, grocery employees gained recognition as among the most indispensable of the pandemic’s front-line workers
6:18AM ( 3 hours ago )
Dozens charged in Capitol riots spewed extremist rhetoric
The attack on the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 has reignited the debate over how law enforcement should handle domestic extremist groups
12:24AM ( 9 hours ago )