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Community organizations reflect on efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations in Latino communities

In Colorado, Hispanics/Latinos are the second largest population group, but have been lagging behind in equitable vaccination rates.

DENVER — The state's vaccine dashboard shows that 37% of all Hispanic/Latinos in Colorado have received at lease one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. They make up a little over 11% of total vaccinations. Throughout the year to help close those gaps, trusted community organizations stepped in and partnered with healthcare providers to bring vaccines to the communities they serve. 

Servicios De La Raza, the state's largest Latino serving nonprofit traveled Colorado throughout 2021 to vaccinate as many people as possible. 

"We go to communities and maybe in one day we get six people, we move to another place and we get 10, and another place, and at that rate we come back with 150," said Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez-Fisher, who works with the Servicios team. He said they have taken roughly 87 trips across Colorado. 

By the end of 2021, they had administered at least 10,000 vaccinations. At an event a few days before Christmas, the team provided at least 150 vaccines. Gonzalez-Fisher said some were first doses and pointed to concerns over the omicron variant for an increased interest in getting vaccinated. 

"We’re here for everyone who wants it," he said. 

You can keep up with their vaccination clinics schedules on their Facebook page, here

In Denver's Westwood community, Mi Casa is a nonprofit aimed at providing opportunity and access to economic sustainability to their clients. In February 2021, they began operating their first vaccine clinics. 

CEO of the nonprofit, Angeles Ortega said they have administered at least 1,000 vaccinations. 

"We have been successful because people already go there for something else and knowing that it’s safe and secure, they feel very comfortable," she said. 

RELATED: Equity clinic aimed at vaccinating 1K Latinos in Colorado rescheduled for this weekend

When vaccines first became available to the public, signing up for an appointment became challenging for many Coloradans. While some had luck with registering online, internet access was a barrier for others. 

"We were able to have people just call our phone number and that way they came in," Ortega said. 

Ortega said they also went into neoghborhoods sharing fliers and door hangers with information about COVID-19 safety and vaccines. 

For information about their upcoming vaccine clinics, you can call 303-573-1302 or visit their website.

RELATED: Community leaders spent Christmas Eve running COVID-19 vaccine, testing sites

Several community organizations beyond Mi Casa and Servicios De La Raza have stepped in to increase vaccination rates. Ortega and Gonzalez-Fisher both said misinformation and mistrust continues to be a barrier in reaching some people, but their efforts will continue into 2022. 

"I think I think we are very much a pro at this, it’s easier to do it because we’ve done so many, we know the flow now," said Ortega. 

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