Hispanic vaccine outreach happening in Dayton area

Claudia Cortez-Reinhardt receives her vaccine at the Kroc Center. KAITLIN SCHROEDER
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Claudia Cortez-Reinhardt receives her vaccine at the Kroc Center. KAITLIN SCHROEDER

Several clinics and outreach efforts in the Dayton area are geared toward Spanish-speaking residents, with the goal of making COVID-19 vaccines more accessible.

The Dayton Hispanic Chamber and Premier Health’s Miami Valley Hospital hosted a clinic at the Dayton Kroc Center with outreach to local Hispanic residents this Saturday.

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“At the beginning there was some pushback and people say no, we are afraid of getting that,” said Claudia Cortez-Reinhardt, who received her vaccine at the clinic and has been helping with outreach. “We have been working on that. And now we have seen that more and more people are interested. Actually yesterday and the day before yesterday, we were getting many phone calls of people trying to get their appointments and get the vaccination and Premier is helping in getting people trust to get the vaccination.”

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County will also be helping with clinics geared toward Spanish-speakers this Friday and Saturday at Christ Lutheran Church in Dayton. This COVID-19 Minority Outreach Vaccination Clinic is co-hosted by the El Puente Educational Center and Rite Aid with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for ages 16 and up.

The vaccines are free for all. People do not need to have ID or health insurance. Along with signing up online at Eventbrite, people can call (937) 225-6217 to schedule an appointment.

Fabrice Juin, project manager for the Local Office of Minority Health at Public Health - Dayton and Montgomery County, said they helped co-host an educational event entirely in Spanish with local doctors and leaders and working with El Puente Educational Center. The panel let people get information and ask questions.

“We wanted to be very intentional in the way we did that, by not just providing the vaccination opportunities, but also providing educational opportunities as well so that they can be informed vaccination, on what’s available and what opportunities we have locally, so they can make the best informed decision for themselves and those around them,” Juin said.

The toll of the pandemic has not been even. COVID-19 was the third leading cause of death in 2020, and the COVID-19 death rate was highest among Hispanic people, per preliminary CDC data.

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Robert Salinas, president of the Dayton Hispanic Chamber, said he lost a brother-in-law, an uncle, two first cousins, and also former classmates to COVID-19. His mother with dementia also suffered under the isolation of the pandemic.

“We’ve been undercounted. We need to get vaccinated. That’s what motivates me about this,” Salinas said.

Some people might be hesitant to seek a vaccine because of being undocumented or immigration status, but Salinas said the names of people getting vaccinated will not be shared and will be private, and he said telling people that has helped more people sign up.

Salinas said misinformation has also been a problem, noting the pushback he heard when offering to sign people up for vaccines who were grocery shopping at La Michoacana.

“I was surprised by the pushback that we were getting from the Hispanic community. And it’s all from misinformation,” he said.