Latino Academy vaccination clinic aims to help to expand vaccine access

MADISON, Wis. — The Latino Academy of Workforce Development held a vaccination clinic on Saturday to offer free COVID-19 vaccinations including the new bivalent booster.

Dr. Waldely Pirona with the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging and Health Groups was at Saturday’s event. Dr. Pirona works with local churches and Hispanic community organizations to help significantly increase turnout at COVID-19 vaccine clinics by dispelling misinformation and reducing vaccine hesitancy through compassion and facts.

“The Latino community needs to increase their vaccination for Covid,” said Dr. Pirona. “I try, like a Latina, to reach this group of my community.”

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The Kaiser Family Foundation says many Hispanic adults face additional barriers while trying to get vaccinated. That can include a lack of health insurance or a usual source of care, a lack of information about the vaccine being cost-free, and logistical barriers such as limited transportation.

Dr. Pirona said this clinic is able to help ease some of those barriers.

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“It’s really great to have the clinics in the community because it’s close to them and it’s very convenient,” said Pirona. “They don’t need to drive to other places and can receive their vaccination right here in the community.”

Dr. Pirona says her identity is able to help others understand more about the vaccine.

“They can trust in me, because I’m Latina,” said Pirona. “I speak Spanish, the same language, and I can help explain what’s going on with the vaccine and everything.”

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Latino Academy of Workforce Development leaders were also at the clinic to talk about the importance of this effort during National Hispanic Heritage Month and staying vaccinated against COVID-19 for employment and protecting families.

“It’s very, very important that people get the vaccine,” said Rosario Angulo, the Special Projects Coordinator with the Latino Academy of Workforce Development. Her message is the same as health officials urging people to protect themselves against the virus. “Don’t get scared about the vaccine. The vaccine helps.”