FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — In Tuesday’s weekly COVID-19 news conference, Dr. Jose Romero spoke Spanish while encouraging Arkansas’ Hispanic community to get vaccinated. The moment encapsulated the day’s intended purpose: placing a focus on increasing vaccination numbers in minority communities.
Of the almost 1.3 million vaccine doses given in the state, the ADH said just under 13% has gone to those who identify as Hispanic. With education at the top of mind for state leaders, Romero met with members of the Latinx community in the River Valley last week to discuss vaccine education.
“I was talking to somebody on his team, and I was like, ‘This is so awesome that he was able to come down and speak in Spanish,'” said Karla Palma, a community organizer for Arkansas United, an immigrant resource group.
Palma said the meeting proved to be an opportunity for Romero to learn from Latinx community members.
“[He was] just talking about any questions, concerns, myths the community might have,” Palma said.
Judith Yanez is involved in COVID-19 education through her nonprofit organization RootED Northwest Arkansas. She said funding for education is needed.
“We cannot lose time, and we’re losing time not having that funding to be able to have these strategies in place,” Yanez said. “Vaccinating’s already started. We’re a little late, so we need to get this ball rolling.”
Palma agreed with Yanez.
“We really need to make deeper touches to make sure that not just the Hispanic community but other minority communities get vaccinated and that the information gets to them,” Palma said.