LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — With only about 2% of the Lexington Hispanic community vaccinated, the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is reaching out to encourage more people to get their doses.
"We want this to increase; we need this to increase. If you remember early on in the outbreak, African Americans and Hispanics throughout Lexington, throughout Kentucky, throughout the United States, were disproportionately affected by COVID-19," LFCHD Communications Director Kevin Hall said. "Those numbers did get back down to a more manageable area, but we still need to make sure that these populations that are sometimes hard to reach, are first knowing about the clinics, and then second, are able to get signed up."
University of Kentucky College of Nursing Associate Professor Dr. Gia Mudd gives vaccines at Kroger Field and at UK's outreach clinics. She said the odds were against the Latinx community from the start of the pandemic.
"They are working in environments where they would not be able to say, you know, 'Well, I'm going to work from home today.' Or, 'My employer is allowing me to stay home for several weeks. In order to, to wait out the pandemic.' They can't afford to do that. And they also are, again, they're essential workers, and therefore, I think that we did see higher rates in the community because of that, they didn't have an option," Mudd said.
Advocates also said there has been distrust among the Hispanic community. LFCHD said it hopes to change that narrative.
"This is a marginalized population, and already has a target on that, and there's a distrust among government agencies. We want them to know that this is not a trap, you can come here, get the vaccine. We're not asking for identification from anyone," Hall said. "When people came in to say that I'm in phase 1C because I have diabetes, we took them on their word we gave them the shot, and it's the same thing with anyone. There's no identification needed, you come in, you get your vaccine."
Mudd said identification is not needed at Kroger Field or UK's outreach clinics either.
She explained with the registration form "we make it very clear that not all of those questions have to be answered by people. They are just to help us to identify who people are. But for the Latinx community, they can register, they can get help registering and people who are available to help them register in the community make it very clear that, you know, you don't have to answer all of the questions. The important questions are to get your information in there. You know, your name, and some basic information and go ahead and get registered."
Going forward, supporters ask Hispanic leaders to share their feelings about the vaccine on social media or in circles with people who trust them.
"We need the community's help to reach people. If you know if someone needs the vaccine, make sure they are aware that there are so many options and they don't have a computer, they can call the Health Department and we can work them into our clinics we can help register them," Hall said. "Be a good neighbor, reach out to the people that you know and help spread the word."
More information regarding vaccine clinics and COVID-19 phases in different languages can be found here.