Three Latinx groups announced on Friday a new Iowa vaccination campaign targeting Latino, Spanish-speaking and immigrant Iowans.
“We know that we can get across the finish line and bring equity to our community, as well as improve overall public health and prosperity for the great state of Iowa,” said Darryl Morin, president of Wisconsin-based nonprofit Forward Latino.
The Iowa Department of Public Health granted $155,000 of American Rescue Plan funds to the League of United Latino Americans (LULAC) of Iowa, Forward Latino and the Latinx Immigrants of Iowa for the vaccination effort. Morin said the campaign will consist of television, radio and print advertisements in English and Spanish. The group will also send people to talk with Spanish-speakers in Iowa neighborhoods about the importance of the vaccine.
“Getting vaccinated isn’t just about taking care of oneself, it’s about taking care of your family. And that’s why (the campaign) is called ‘Por Mi Familia,’” Morin said.
The campaign will open vaccine clinics in eight Iowa counties with higher Latino populations: Polk, Woodbury, Scott, Muscatine, Pottawattamie, Marshall, Tama and Buena Vista.
Iowa does not report vaccination rates by demographics, but Morin estimated that only about 35% of eligible Latinos in the state were vaccinated. Nationwide, he said, Latino communities have lower vaccination rates due to demanding work schedules and insufficient education on vaccines.
He also noted that misinformation was a hurdle to vaccinations: Unfounded claims that the vaccines would be unsafe, or incorrect information about I.D. requirements for vaccines may have deterred some people from getting the shot.
Minority communities across the U.S. were disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the pandemic, Latinos and other people of color have been hospitalized and have died at higher rates than white Americans, according to CDC data.
Morin encouraged the state governments to learn from the pandemic and improve connections with minority communities.
“It shouldn’t take a pandemic to drive these types of things … I think that every government entity should be learning from this experience and building the systems to make sure that we won’t be caught so off-guard,” he said.