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New Outreach Program Aims to Boost Hispanic Vaccination Levels

By September 30, 2021COVID-19

Heart health advocates are hoping to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among the nation’s Hispanic population, which has grown by 30% in Syracuse over the last decade.

The American Heart Association’s ‚ÄúStay Fuerte for All‚ÄĚ (Spanish for ‚Äústrong‚ÄĚ) aims to combat vaccine misinformation among the Spanish-speaking community. The AHA said the population experience higher rates of cardiovascular issues, largely due to poor healthcare access, which can increase risk for complications from COVID.

The organization said the lack of Spanish-language resources about the vaccine enables the spread of misinformation about the vaccine’s side effects. Only 17% of those who received at least one dose of the vaccine are Hispanic, according to the most recent CDC data.

Franklin Fry, the heart association’s executive director for the greater Syracuse area, said the new initiative isn’t just targeting vaccinations.

‚ÄúThe overarching piece here is access to healthcare and quality healthcare,‚Ä̬†Fry said.

The higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart failure seen among the Hispanic population are also top risks for COVID complications, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. Hispanic people are more than twice as likely to die of COVID than non-Hispanic people, per the CDC’s age-adjusted data.

Fry said this all ties back to access.

‚ÄúThey haven‚Äôt had the access to quality health insurance or quality healthcare that other portions of our population have had access to.¬†and so that leads to not just¬†COVID-19 but all of the risk factors and all of the components that drive¬†‚ÄĒ¬†especially from the¬†Heart¬†Association‚Äôs perspective¬†‚ÄĒ¬†heart health and brain health,‚Ä̬†Fry said.

The ‚ÄúStay Fuerte for All‚ÄĚ will target Hispanic communities through community groups as well as employers. The organization aims to inform companies about the overall health and wellness of their employees, including the importance of a COVID vaccination.

‚ÄúIf people are not vaccinated the impact on their body could be much longer and much deeper than anyone knows at this current point,‚ÄĚ Fry said.

‚ÄúStay Fuerte for All‚ÄĚ is putting on a national online panel in Spanish on Oct. 13 to encourage vaccinations, but there are currently no local events scheduled.

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