Late in vaccinations, Latinos in Texas offered COVID shots to church / Public News Service

Promoting the theme of “unity in community,” the Hispanic Access Foundation has partnered with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to bring COVID-19 vaccination clinics to Latin American churches in three Texas communities.

Aurie Garcia, secretary of Hope of Life Church of God in Houston, said she wants more people to get vaccinated or at least get the right vaccine resources.

“We see a lot of people still getting sick today, even when using masks, people are still catching the virus,” Garcia observed. “I think it’s important, and I tell them, ‘It’s still there.’ “

The Hope of Life Church of God in Houston offers vaccination clinics every Wednesday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Power of God Church in McAllen and Living Covenant Church in El Paso are offering similar clinics through August.

David Armijo, program manager for the Hispanic Access Foundation, said many people feel more comfortable seeking care at their church alongside people they know and trust.

“Many of them didn’t come because they were afraid of not having material in Spanish,” Armijo pointed out. “They would have to fill in information, they wouldn’t have a translator. So being able to provide these clinics in high-density Latino areas has been a big success.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected Latino communities in the United States, and Garcia reminded them that even church leaders were not immune.

“Even our pastor had it. He got COVID about a month ago,” Garcia recounted. “But he just had to be at home and not exposed because of others, but he had no major symptoms.”

In addition to Texas, other clinics working to reach Latin American families for COVID-19 vaccinations are located in Arizona, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey and Nevada.

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Jerry B. Hatch