As the Delta and other more communicable variants spread across the United States, the unvaccinated population you are still at higher risk of becoming infected, seriously ill, or dying. And the Latino community seems to be first in line.

In the last 14 days, only 10.6% of Latinos He received your first dose, compared to 60.6% of whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The phenomen is not new. Hispanics and African Americans have been hit during the pandemic from the beginning. Last year in New York, 62% of the dead were Latino and black, according to city figures.

The coronavirus spreads in the Latino community, in the United States. Photo: AP

This is mainly because many Latinos in the US work as essential employees, have more than one job at a time, work for small companies that do not offer time off, or belong to to the informal sector of the economy.

A system that is not ready

Currently, Hispanics represent 23.7% of COVID-19 cases in the country.

Dr. Elena Ríos (66), general director of the National Hispanic Medical Association, affirms that also the lack of Translate services and Spanish-speaking personnel in medical centers have led to “the system in the US not being prepared to help our community for what you need … and for this reason the cases continue to rise “.

CASES
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per million inhab.

DEATHS
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Source: Johns Hopkins
Chart: Flourish | Infographic: Clarion

Only 5% of doctors nationwide are of Hispanic origin, Ríos shares. One of these few physicians is Dr. Roberto Cruz-Gervis, 56, chief of the hospital service and director of the Intensive Care Unit at the “New England Baptist Hospital” in Boston (Massachusetts).

“Confused”

Since the most critical moment of the pandemic, Cruz-Gervis has treated COVID-19 patients of various ethnic backgrounds, including Latinos.

Many Latinos do not get vaccinated because they still have questions about the vaccine.  Photo: EFE

Many Latinos do not get vaccinated because they still have questions about the vaccine. Photo: EFE

Cruz-Gervis is a Guatemalan committed to helping the Latin American population. “Boston has a large Hispanic community and, unfortunately, the percentage of people vaccinated is relatively low“, share.

He believes it is because once the vaccine was made available, “(Latinos) they have been resistant to it, mainly because of misconceptions and they are still confused about how safe it is for their health ”.

Rebecca Campos, a 69-year-old Costa Rican, who until June 2021 was a counselor at West Campus High School in Sacramento, California, shares that she loved hearing when her Latino students told her they were getting vaccinated. Mainly because “I feel that ethey are misinformed and there is simply a lack of confidence“, dice.

Health specialists such as Dr. Cruz-Gervis and Dra. Ríos, and also Campos, are in favor of continuing to promote the population to be vaccinated. Especially after witnessing how some people have learned the hard way, by losing friends or family.

For example, Campos was convinced she needed the booster after the gardener who worked for her family for years died of COVID-19 after refusing to get vaccinated. “He was a young man with children … his wife now takes care of our garden, and it just breaks my heart,” he says.

To reduce the vaccination gap between the Latino and white populations, it is necessary educate people and find a way to earn their trust.

In March, the National Hispanic Medical Association launched the campaign “Vaccines for All” with the support of the CDC and Johnson & Johnson for the purpose of “building confidence in vaccines and answering questions,” says Dr. Ríos.

Through social networks “we have carried out different virtual events in Spanish with the support of Univision and Telemundo to convey the message that vaccines are safe. We have been quite successful! ”He says.

Cruz-Gervis shares that an effective approach, used by Latino leaders in Boston and surrounding communities, has included vaccine advocates visit churches and recreational sites. “This method seems to be paying off,” he says.

“We are all learning about this virus together,” shares Dr. Cruz-Gervis, as it is essential that the population understand that it is a very new disease compared to many other infections that scientists have been able to study for many years.

As information about COVID-19 continues to evolve, it is imperative to trust the experts and science. “I want to tell the Latino community that there is nothing to fear,” Campos says. “If you love your family, go get vaccinated.”

Isabella Rolz, special for Clarion

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By Editor