Vaccination clinics aim to attract Latino churchgoers

Vaccination clinics aim to attract Latino churchgoers
A dose of COVID-19 vaccine is prepared. Image: Ty O'Neil / This Is Reno

By Suzanne Potter
This story was originally published by Public News Service.

HENDERSON — A new network of COVID-19 vaccine clinics is now open – located in Latino churches in nine cities across the country, including one in Nevada.

The clinics are part of a collaboration between the Hispanic Access Foundation and a federal agency called the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Andres Almanza Cañas is the associate director of the vaccine program at the Centro de Adoracion Familiar in Henderson, which is holding its next clinic on Tuesday, June 14.

“Many in the BIPOC community aren’t getting vaccinated because of lack of transportation,” said Almanza Cañas, “as well as a lack of access to education and proper knowledge that doesn’t come from erroneous social media posts.”

Almanza Cañas blames false social media memes for spreading misinformation about the vaccine’s cost, safety, efficacy and side effects.

A recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that 47% of Latinos have received at least one vaccination shot, and that quite a few people – particularly from families with mixed immigration status – fear having to give their personal information to health authorities.

David Armijo, chief of programs with the Hispanic Access Foundation, said many people feel more comfortable getting the shot at the church – somewhere they know and trust.

“Many of them had not come because they had a fear that they wouldn’t have material in Spanish,” said Armijo. “They’d have to fill out information, they wouldn’t have a translator. So being able to provide these clinics in heavy Latino areas has been a big success.”

The clinics in this program will run through August. The other eight clinics are in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Texas.