DENVER — After its first mass vaccine event at the National Western Complex in February, SCL Health has been making several important improvements before its first second-dose event in Denver. Specifically, changes to accommodate and keep safe its Spanish-speaking patient population.
New signage, interpreters, dual language volunteers and forms made available in Spanish and 20 other languages are among the updates at the state health partner's upcoming 5,000-vaccine clinic.
Improvements that were spurred on and successfully implemented through a partnership with local Latino community advocate Ezzie Dominguez, whose first experience with SCL Health was last month when she brought nearly a dozen of her Westwood neighbors to be vaccinated at National Western.
"Being at this event, seeing it firsthand, knowing that there were some things that needed to be fixed up or changed up," Dominguez said, "that’s what led me to speak up."
At the time, Dominguez left concerned over the lack of resources in Spanish. SCL Health said the first clinic came together in two short weeks, but Dominguez felt without her, her Spanish-speaking neighbors would not have been able to successfully navigate the clinic.
Concerns Dominguez shared with 9NEWS last month.
"There’s always a fear when you speak up that people are going to be angry or they’ll feel like they’re being called out," Dominguez said.
But representatives with SCL Health dove headfirst into finding solutions and asked Dominguez to partner with them to do so.
"We just keep learning, right? I think that’s the lesson of COVID is you have to be willing to keep learning and improving and then engaging," said Megan Mahncke, the senior vice president of external relations at SCL Health.
"With this event, it started out with 40 different not for profit partners, the city of Denver, the state," she said. "There’s a lot we can learn, and I think it takes community leaders like Ezzie to really help us navigate through that."
This weekend, Dominguez will be the Spanish-speaking voice her community hears on the AM station when they come for their second dose.
"They’re taking care of our community by listening, by truly listening," Dominguez said. "This is truly what collaboration and partnership should look like."
SCL Health will have six interpreters on site Saturday at National Western, in addition to 800 volunteers, double the amount they had in February, they said.
All appointments there are filled this weekend. But, SCL Health could host other vaccine events at National Western if the state gets enough supply.
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