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Clinic at Vietnamese Community Center aims to address disparities in vaccination rates

Father Joseph Dang said the biggest barriers in his community are language and trust.

DENVER — Words that used to be unfamiliar are used every day now. 

"Moderna or Pfizer?" asks Father Joseph Dang to a patient looking to get a booster shot. 

But when all the other words are unfamiliar too, navigating the COVID-19 pandemic is more difficult. 

“I think the barrier with the Vietnamese community is the language, also the trust," Dang said. 

He helped put together a vaccine clinic at the Vietnamese American Community Center to try to break down those barriers, because the vaccination rate in his community is lower than others. 

“So far I am confidently about 80% of the Vietnamese community here in Denver go through either my channel or through other organizations," Dang said. "But they have at least one dose. Now, did they get two dose? Not that many."

In a message in Vietnamese, Dang asked people to reach out to him for help getting vaccinated. 

Denver's department of health said as of the first week of November, only 59.6% of Asian/Pacific Islander residents 12 and older have received at least one dose of the vaccine. That's compared to 81.3% of white residents. 

"I’m begging the community, do not let someone fear you, because your life is in your own hand," Dang said. 

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