Texas A&M Superfund Research Center (SRC) COVID Community Outreach team of researchers and trainees, along with partners from the Texas A&M College of Medicine, recently initiated a series of community engagement events to demystify COVID 19 and address vaccination hesitancy.
Building on the experiences of the SRC’s Community Engagement Core, the group also partnered with local leaders and organizations to provide a community resource to address the mis/dis-information on vaccinations.
Since March 2021, SRC has leveraged existing connections, and built new ones, to encourage and promote vaccinations. The center identified vaccination hesitancy as a health equity issue that community partners needed assistance with, and quickly mobilized a coordinated and sustained multi-prong effort to engage and help.
Through this effort, the center learned that there were many pockets of largely unvaccinated communities, each with its own reasons for vaccination hesitancy. Bringing the information to those communities was key in gaining the trust and understanding of Hispanic and Black residents, and bringing the vaccine to them in partnership with the College of Medicine made access to the vaccine equitable.
Events have been held at the Salvation Army, local churches, and community parks, and depending on the community, language translators were on-hand. Flyers were posted in the local newspaper serving the Hispanic community, and Spanish-speaking graduate students posted flyers in the Hispanic neighborhoods and were given on-air time on local Hispanic radio stations.
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