race for a vaccine

State, Community Groups Change Strategies to Get More Latinos Vaccinated

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California's Latino population lags far behind nearly every other group in vaccination rates. Now, community groups and even the governor's office are beginning to pivot to figure out how to get them to roll up their sleeves.

The vaccination site at Children of the Rainbow Park in San Jose is proof of a changing strategy – moving away from mass vaccination sites and toward targeted delivery directly to Latino neighborhoods.

Not only is the clinic in the heart of San Jose's Latino population, it's open until 7 p.m. to give people who work a better chance to get their shot.

"The most important thing is making sure that this vaccine is accessible to all residents, especially the most impacted," Carlos Velazquez, a city worker, said. "And I think that’s what we’re doing here."

All across the South Bay, agencies are recalibrating their outreach efforts after numbers showed two-thirds of Latinos in the county and the state were not yet vaccinated.

"Having to think outside the box, and really, I think, now it's about access, meeting people where they're at," Omar Rodriguez from Mexican Heritage Plaza said.

That means clinics open on weekends and after work.

The county's public health department talked about the ongoing drop in demand at Tuesday's virtual board of supervisors meeting.

"Again, I point out that the Latinx population trails again in this early population group, and again that’s been the focus of a lot of our outreach and pop-up vaccinations," Santa Clara County COVID-19 Vaccine Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said.

The county said it can give up to 20,000 vaccinations per day, but because of the steep drop in demand, it's only doing 10,000 right now.

After the state saw a vaccination PSA with Grammy award-winners Los Tigres Del Norte put out by NBC Bay Area's sister station Telemundo 48, they asked for help in recruiting the band for a statewide campaign. Los Tigres said it's a no-brainer.

"This is a group that people are listening to, that are following the group's lead because the guys are very authentic and very careful and deliberate in what they put their name in," AKA Productions President Dwayne Ulloa said.

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