Anchorage Steps Up in Getting More Minorities Vaccinated
by lina mariscal
In Alaska, the vaccine against Covid-19 has been available for certain demographics and special groups since mid-December last year. With healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents being the first ones to receive it. As more doses became available, eligibility opened up to other age groups and people meeting certain criteria. As of Tuesday, March 9, the vaccine became available to anyone 16 years or older who lives or works in Alaska.
After an article Alaska Public Media published last February drew attention to the low numbers of minority groups being vaccinated, yet being the hardest hit by the pandemic, the Anchorage Health Department has shifted gears and started to do more outreach and is changing the way it handles its vaccination clinics to change the low participation numbers.
The Municipality of Anchorage has put together a vaccination advisory committee composed of several community leaders and organizations, and health care providers to exchange information and give recommendations to help with the outreach efforts. Pop-up clinics were suggested as a more efficient way to deliver the vaccines to specific groups, as well as making health information available in several languages ensuring people were educated on the importance and need to get vaccinated. After all, vaccines will work best only when as many people as possible get vaccinated.
The first pop up clinic was conducted at the end of February at a Samoan church for the Pacific Islander community. It was meant to be a safe, friendly, and culturally welcoming place to encourage people to participate. About 160 vaccines were given and it opened the door to other minority groups replicating the event. It also showed the health community that it is necessary to think out of the box and not hesitate to use non-traditional methods to reach out to minorities.
The Anchorage Health Department is working on putting together a pop-up clinic for the Latino community in partnership with Enlaces, a non-profit organization advocating to advance social justice and equity for Latinos/Hispanics in the North. By doing this, they hope to attract major participation in their vaccination efforts.
Enlaces will coordinate a pop-up clinic targeting the Latino community, scheduled for March 18 and 19, at the Gallo’s Center on Dimond. The clinic is open to everyone regardless of race, and walk-in vaccine availability will also be possible. A dedicated phone number where people can call, and be helped in Spanish to make their appointment, is also available. For more information about this clinic, please contact Enlaces at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 907-903-6448.
PROUDLY POWERED BY SOL DE MEDIANOCHE NEWS, LLC. Sol de Medianoche is a monthly publication of the Latino community in Anchorage, Alaska