Yakima vaccine outreach efforts focus on Hispanic community

YAKIMA, Wash. — The Yakima Health District is working to improve COVID-19 vaccine access for the Hispanic community, which makes up more than half of the county’s population.

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found Hispanic adults are more likely to report that a family member had tested positive or died from the virus and may face additional barriers in getting vaccinated.

One way the health district is trying to help is by making sure the community has access to accurate information in both English and Spanish, releasing information in both languages and having bilingual staff at the community vaccination center at State Fair Park.

The health district also hosts La Vacuna, a Spanish-only question and answer session about the COVID-19 vaccine every two weeks on Facebook. Previous guests have included medical providers, religious leaders and other trusted community members.

“We will continue to do that in the future because we know how critical these individuals are in their communities too and how people look up to them as their leaders,” said Stephanie Badillo-Sanchez, Communication Specialist with the Yakima Health District.

The health district has also been working to answer questions and alleviate concerns about the federally-supported community vaccination center. Staff working to screen patients at the site are on the front lines of those conversations.

“A lot of people are hesitant about coming in and getting their shots at a government-run facility but I believe that our team, we do a great job of alleviating any stress so for our site,” said James Conley, a registered nurse at the site.

Badillo-Sanchez said they want to make sure community members  — especially those who may be undocumented — know that the vaccine is completely free to everyone and that the site does not require identification or any kind of documentation.

“It doesn’t matter if you are a resident of Washington state,” said Capt. Brittany Lynn, Assistant Chief Nurse at the community vaccination center. “It doesn’t matter if you are here for just one vaccine or if you’re going to be here for both vaccines: we’re taking anybody and everybody.”

For those who still don’t feel comfortable coming to State Fair Park or are too far away, the health district hosts a series of mobile vaccine clinics every week at different locations countywide.

“The importance of mobile clinics is that they are out there where the community is,” Badillo-Sanchez said. “People are able to access them if they’re not able to come to the CVC.”

Several mobile clinics are scheduled this weekend, including:

  • Friday, May 14
    • 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Bleyhl Co-op, 940 Wine Country Rd. in Grandview
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Franklin Middle School, 410 S. 19th Ave. in Yakima
    • 2 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Yakima Valley Mall, 2529 Main St. in Union Gap
  • Saturday, May 15
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Ridgeview Elementary School, 609 W. Washington Ave. in Yakima
    • 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Best Practices Healthcare Center, 715 N. Park Dr. in Selah
  • Sunday, May 16
    • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Christ Lutheran Church, 5606 W. Lincoln Ave. in Yakima
    • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Granger High School, 315 Mentzer Ave. in Granger
    • 1:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. at St. Paul Cathedral, 15 S. 12th Ave. in Yakima

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