Saturday, April 20, 2024

How Waco is boosting vaccine outreach to communities of color

WACO, TX – New statewide data from the Episcopal Health Foundation shows that Texans of color are less likely than their white counterparts to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

“There are a lot of nonwhites and particularly African Americans who have had bad experiences with the healthcare delivery system,” said Elena Marks, CEO and president of the foundation.

Almost 40% of white Texans say they are “very likely” to receive the vaccine, compared with 35% of Hispanic Texans and 31% of Black Texans, according to the report.

Waco Mayor Pro Tem Hector Sabido wants to boost those numbers.

He said he has begun meeting with a small team every week to explore how the city can more effectively reach out to communities of color and tout the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine.

Sabido said a key strategy is reaching out to community leaders on social media and on other platforms and “having them hopefully tell the story that the vaccine is safe, that it is beneficial, and that it is okay to take it.”

However, there is no one-size-fits-all message that can be relayed to all communities, he said.

“With the African American community, we know that local pastors are very trusted sources of information, so we’re looking at ways to maybe collaborate with local pastors,” Sabido said.

“With the Hispanic community, it’s very family oriented, so looking for those influential people in the family who are willing to take the vaccine,” Sabido said.

The report found that Democrats, Texans over 65, college graduates and people with higher incomes were the groups most likely to say they would receive the vaccine.

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