Activists Work to Get More Vaccinated in South Bay’s Hard-Hit Latino Community
There is growing concern about the vaccine hesitancy, especially among Santa Clara County’s Latino community.
Advocates said it is clear more and more people in that community are declining to get vaccinated and are worried about the long-term effects on a community that has been hit so hard by the coronavirus.
Imelda Bautista, who represents the community group Somos Mayfair, walks the streets of East San Jose every week. Her job is to get more people in her community to get the COVID vaccine.
“I’m very sad because we know about many deaths and it’s all part of our family, our friends, neighbors,” she said.
But lately, Bautista said she has been met with a lot of resistance. Some have told her their family is hesitant.
“Many people say ‘No, thank you. I don’t want it because I don’t believe in that.'” Bautista said.
The door-to-door efforts to get more people in the Latino community vaccinated are facing another issue as well.
On the NextDoor app, neighbors are leery of similar door knocks, wondering if the person at their doorstep is legit.
San Jose Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco, who fought to get more vaccination sites on the east side, set up a mobile clinic at the large Foxdale apartment complex — an area with the county’s highest COVID case rates and lowest vaccination rates.
Officials said 366 people showed up to get the vaccine, but many more stayed away.
“People are still mistrusting of government,” Carrasco said. “Some of them still don’t trust us, especially when it comes to the conversation about the vaccine.”
Some of the hesitancy was expected. The county in response has launched large education campaigns to calm vaccine fears. The Grammy Award-winning Los Tigres Del Norte even shot a public service announcement for Telemundo 48, NBC Bay Area’s sister station.
Still, nearly no one is now waiting for a vaccine at the Mexican Heritage Plaza when just weeks ago there was a line that stretched for nearly a mile.
Bautista said there may be a cultural component, noting there is similar hesitancy across Latin America. But that will not stop her from knocking on doors to get more vaccinated and end a pandemic that nearly destroyed her community.