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Camino Community Center providing COVID-19 information, vaccine efforts for Hispanic and Latino population

By August 14, 2021COVID-19

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – The Department of Health and Human Services reports more than 10 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been given to people.

As of Friday, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services says 8 percent of Hispanic people in N.C. are fully vaccinated compared to 82 percent of non-Hispanic people.

That’s up from 3% at the beginning of March.

Hispanic people make up 10% of the state’s population.

Alondra Reyes and her husband both had COVID-19 in January.

“It was more like a headache and shortness of breath, and I was just very very tired,” Reyes said.

Reyes is a pharmacy technician giving COVID-19 vaccines and tests on a daily basis -that’s part of why she decided to get vaccinated, she said, to limit her chances of severe illness.

“To think that [if] I’m not vaccinated it could hit me worse and I could and up in the hospital, I could lose my job, or my kids could lose me,” Reyes said.

The Camino Community Center in north Charlotte is actively working to educate the Hispanic and Latino community on the virus and the vaccine.

The center’s recent study on the Hispanic and Latino population in Charlotte found some people were hesitant to get the vaccine due to language barriers or lack of knowledge.

“I think the reasons that our vaccine clinics were so successful is because Camino is a place that’s built the trust of the Latino community for many years and we also have staff who are bilingual. So people know if they come to Camino they’ll be able to speak to somebody in their language to figure out more information about the vaccine,” said Camino Community Center’s Dr. Keri Revens.

Revens is the Director of Camino Research Institute.

To combat those things, Camino has mobile and on-site vaccine clinics. Doctors also share information in English and Spanish.

“We need to ensure that we’re offering the same opportunities for everybody so if a person does want to get the vaccine they’re able to make that decision,” Revens said.

The survey was conducted Feb. 17-22, 2021. Camino surveyed over 420 people from various countries and immigration statuses.

Camino found that the Latino population was affected financially, emotionally, and physically by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The survey found that 25% of people tested positive for COVID-19, 59% of people had someone in their family test positive, and 18% of people had a family member who was hospitalized from COVID-19.

When it comes to the financial impact, some people reported having difficulty paying bills, difficulty getting medicine, trouble getting food, or trouble paying for housing.

Reyes says some people are fearful to get vaccinated due to their documentation status.

“Most of these people are undocumented and have the fear of being traced down, being knocked down on their door just for the information they’re providing to the pharmacy or anybody,” Reyes said.

Studies from the CDC show underlying health conditions could increase the risk of severe illness of COVID-19.

Reyes says she’s noticed first hand some Hispanic families have high salt diets or don’t have portion control when it comes to their meals.

Staff at Camino say they’ve also seen more patients with Type II diabetes which is why they have programs in place for healthy living.

“We’re teaching them about how to monitor their diet and make changes as needed to help manage that disease,” Revens said.

Revens says they’re also reminding people they can get the vaccine if they’re uninsured.

Reyes is encouraging her own family to vaccinated and is reminding others to do their research and talk to someone they trust.

“You have options and if you just educate yourself or search around you’ll end with the correct vaccination for yourself,” Reyes.

For more information on resources and vaccine events at Camino Community Center click here.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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