Charlotte non-profit building trust, overcoming language barriers to vaccinate Hispanic community

Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 6:26 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The race to get all North Carolinians vaccinated continues, especially in minority communities.

The latest data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that 2.4% of Hispanic people are fully vaccinated compared to 97.3% of Non-Hispanic people.

NCDHHS is also reporting that 2.4% of the state’s Hispanic population is fully vaccinated, compared to 10.4% of Non-Hispanic people. For context, 9.8% of the state is Hispanic or Latino, according to 2019 Census data.

“We are very interested obviously in why? ,” said Camino Community Center Founder and CEO Rusty Price.

Camino Community Center in Charlotte has a food bank, thrift store, and medical clinic, now they’re doing their part to offer the COVID-19 vaccine.

Price says the lower numbers aren’t because of lack of interest or transportation, but trust. That’s why they’re partnering with Mecklenburg County Health Department to offer the vaccine. It’s an effort to provide a familiar environment and support to the people they work with on a daily basis.

“We are hopeful that as things continue that more vaccine is released that we will be able to be a great conduit for this population,” Price said.

Price says they’re also up against language barriers and making sure all information about COVID-19 and the vaccine is communicated clearly and effectively.

“We’ve done videos in Spanish educating [them]. We’ve had multiple sessions where people will call and we’ll answer all their questions,” Price said.

Medical volunteer and interpreter Dr. Laura Rincon also got the vaccine. Rincon is from Colombia and says she’s been encouraging her family, friends, and others in the community to get the vaccine too. As an interpreter, she’s also helping break down any language barriers that may arise.

“We are ready to respond to all these questions, to clarify all the doubts so we are ready to help them to make the decision to get the vaccine,” Rincon said.

While the data may be drastic now, Price hopes that with these partnerships and effective communication, it’ll ultimately change for the better.

“It’s finding those trusted leaders in the community and partnering with them that’s going to be key in this,” Price said.

Camino Community Center will be offering the vaccine to 200 people this Saturday through its partnership with Mecklenburg County Health Department. All appointments are filled at this time.

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