A group of young Angelenos are running a campaign to help street vendors get appointments for the COVID-19 vaccine and are helping them clear their doubts or fears about the vaccination.
The teens are student members of the Weingart YMCA of East Los Angeles who want to make sure street vendors understand the importance of getting vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“Young people are signing them up and providing information about the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Omar Torres, Director of Community Development for YMCA Weingart. "They want to establish trust in the community."
These teens take classes on immigration at the YMCA and part of their course includes a project. They chose to vaccinate a section of the population, which is mostly undocumented.
They understand street vendors better than anyone, since many of them are also immigrants. Furthermore, they know that some vendors cannot make an appointment on a computer or are afraid of immigration authorities or the vaccine itself.
But their efforts in educating and offering clarification is working.
"Yes, I'm going to put it on," says María del Carmen Pérez, a street vendor in the Los Angeles area. "I'm not going to risk myself too, and even more so here that one is serving so many people."
The work of young people focuses on making the community aware that there are vaccines for everyone, starting at the age of 16. But its main message is that the vaccine can save their lives.
"It is a vaccine to help prevent you from dying from COVID-19, and we have several studies that indicate that it is safe and that it will not cause any harm," says Dr. Edgar Chavez, medical director of Universal Community Health Center.
Young people take the time to talk to the vendors to show them that someone cares about their health.
“For me, as a street vendor, it is vital and very important to be able to take the vaccine because I interact with people,” said Martha Rivera, a street vendor in Boyle Heights.