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Push for the COVID-19 vaccine in Colorado's Latino communities continues

As boosters of the vaccine get approved for certain people, some groups are working to make sure certain communities get their initial doses as well.

AURORA, Colo. — The state said more than 3.5 million Coloradans are fully vaccinated against the virus, but some communities still see vaccination rates lagging behind. 

With COVID-19 boosters -approved this past week and a decision about young children's vaccines is right around the corner, Colorado health officials want to close the vaccine equity gap. 

According to data from Denver Health, 48.4% of Hispanic or Latino people between the ages of 18 and 29 have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in Denver County. That's compared to 78.4% of white, non-Hispanic people that have been vaccinated in that age group. 

For those older than 65, 57.7% of Hispanic or Latino people have been fully vaccinated for the same area, compared to 83.1%.

But several groups have been working to close that gap, especially in the Denver Metro. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
Erika Rivera shares information about the COVID-19 vaccine at the La Plaza Flea Market in Aurora.

UnidosUS made a stop on their month-long Colorado tour called Esperanza Hope for All" at the La Plaza Flea Market in Aurora Saturday. 

Its goal is to educate hard-to-reach Latino residents in Colorado on the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccines and booster doses. 

“Well there’s a lot of questions asked with the community – the Hispanic community. Many people say they already have the vaccine. Many people don’t have the right information and they’re scared about the vaccine," said Erika Rivera, who is with the group. “That’s why we’re here. Let them know that it’s okay – that it’s better to have the vaccine and be safe.”

She spent much of Saturday handing out bags with information on the COVID-19 vaccine. At their stand, they're able to share information with people about where to sign up for the vaccine. 

While the numbers locally show a large separation in vaccination rates, UnidosUS' Senior Health Communications Manager Joanna Kuttothara said going into communities has helped improve that. 

"So we're very close with closing that gap, and that's great. But I think it's it's been a response to having culturally adapted information in language information and going straight to the communities using approaches that work," Kuttothara said. 

They'll continue to pop up with information around the state until the end of the month, with stops in Thornton, Colorado Springs and Aurora again next weekend. 

Credit: Luis de Leon
A person gets vaccinated for COVID-19 at Servicios De La Raza's Health Fair Saturday.

Back in the Denver area, Servicios De La Raza held a health fair Saturday, which included music and other vendors. 

The fair also had stands for cholesterol checks, flu shots and doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

"Well, you know, with our community, we tend to wait until the last minute. A lot of times and a lot of different instances," said Rudy Gonzales, the executive director of Servicios De La Raza. "And but that doesn't mean that we're not going to get it done. And, you know, with services a lot, I'll say it's been our absolute consistency and it will be our absolute consistency that finally drives the numbers in a positive direction." 

He said that they were able to get around 40 people doses of the vaccine as of around noon Saturday. 

In the coming weeks, they hope to start up their 'night clinics' where their hours of operation will extend into the evening hours so people who can't get away from their jobs during the day are able to receive access to their services. 

"And like I said, as long as our resources hold out to do this work, we're going to continue to do it until that time that we no longer have resources or until we get to the last Latino arm in this state," Gonzales said. 

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