WELD COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – An equity clinic held at the Sunrise Community Health Monfort Family Clinic in Evans Sunday aimed to get COVID-19 vaccinations in the arms of Weld County's Latino population.
According to county data, that community remains behind the white-non-Hispanic community in the amount of people vaccinated. So far, only about 8% of doses have gone to Latino residents, despite representing nearly 30% of the county's population.
The equity clinic was originally planned for last Sunday, until organizers rescheduled it due to the incoming winter storm. Sunrise Community Health, the Latino Coalition of Weld County, Latinos Unidos of Greeley, the Immigrant and Refugee Center of Northern Colorado, and Hispanic Women of Weld County all helped with planning and outreach.
"At that time, everybody was activated," said Deb Suniga, Public Relations Director for the Latino Coalition of Weld County. "We went and changed the dates to March 21 on all of our posters, we were knocking door to door, we were making phone calls."
Suniga said that extra week of planning and outreach ended up being a blessing. On the Wednesday before the original clinic date, about 500 people had signed up for a vaccine appointment. Just over a week later, more than 1,100 appointments were booked.
"The snowstorm helped us," She said. "Plus, when the governor put us to 1B.4, the phones over here did not stop ringing."
Kelly Martinez is one of the hundreds who made the call after learning she was newly eligible. Now, with one shot down, she'll feel safer working at the Farmer's Inn in LaSalle, a restaurant her family has owned for decades.
"I feel more comfortable, more at ease," Martinez said. "Customers will really appreciate it, I think. Maybe more people will come in more or not be afraid to come in."
Of the more than 1,100 patients who received the shot, Suniga estimated at least 75% were Latino. Moving forward, organizers hope to host at least one equity clinic each month.
"We know that our efforts of doing what we have done has connected with our community, and now they know where they can come," Suniga said. "The last time we spoke, we were at 7.9% of people who were getting vaccinated, but now with what JBS did and what we're doing, we'll see where our numbers fall."
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