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Fort Collins nonprofits ban together to promote vaccine efficacy in communities of color

Community leaders in Fort Collins received their COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday in an effort to increase vaccine trust in Larimer County's communities of color.

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — In an effort to promote vaccine equity, Larimer County community nonprofits have banded together to address the barriers that exist with getting people of color to trust the vaccine. 

Some of those barriers include accessibility, language and combatting myths surrounding the vaccine. Larimer County has administered more than 93,000 COVID-19 vaccines: 5.6% have gone to non-white residents, and 1.9% to Latinx residents. 

"So we got together and said how can we work around these barriers, think about these barriers intentionally when we’re trying to get people to get vaccinated," said Johanna Ulloa. Ulloa is the founder and program director for the BIPOC Alliance in Fort Collins. 

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The organization partnered with Mujeres de Colores, La Familia, Fuerza Latina, Alianza NORCO, La Cocina, Foothills Unitarian Church, and Salud Family Health to use grassroots efforts to promote vaccine efficacy in communities of color. 

RELATED: 'Work is not done': County data show gaps in Latino vaccination rates

Tuesday, community leaders in Fort Collins received their COVID-19 vaccine to encourage others to do the same if and when they are eligible. 

"It's people that they trust...these are community leaders who have been here for a long time, doing amazing work in the community and are well regarded and respected," said Ulloa.

A few of those community leaders include Betty Aragon-Mitotes, founder of Mujeres de Colores, Lupe Salazar and Blanche Hughes, who both work at Colorado State University. Pat Griego with the League of Women Voters also helped recruit Hispanic community members 65 and older to sign up for the vaccine. 

They were all vaccinated at Salud Family Health in Fort Collins. Salud's president and CEO John Santistevan said 39% of their patients are Hispanic or Latinx, but the people they are vaccinating aren't always their regular patients. 

"When you look at the demographics of the patients that we’re vaccinating in the over 70, we got about a 20% penetration rate into our patient population," said Santistevan. "If you look at the individuals over 65, we have increased that penetration rate into our patients by up to 42%." 

Santistevan said this is why community outreach and education is important. 

People with questions about the vaccine or who want help signing up can contact any of the nonprofits below: 

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