WCMS wants to make sure minority communities not left behind in vaccine distribution

March 25, 2021

WLOS News Clip

A neighborhood in Arden had COVID-19 vaccines come to them on Wednesday. It’s a part of a community push to take the vaccine to communities that might not otherwise have access.

About 145 people at Wellington Community Estates got the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Western North Carolina Medical Society Foundation ran the event. Organizers chose the neighborhood because it is more than 98% Latinx.

“Reach the people that need it the most, that don’t have access to health care, don’t have access to vaccines, don’t have access to internet,” said Mariela Solano, director of health access and equity programs for the WNC Medical Society Foundation.

For Solano, it’s a personal mission.

“For me, advocating for those people that came into the country the same as I did, not knowing the language, not being able to navigate the system, not having anybody to help you,” she said.

Solano said she hopes they are able to do similar events in other neighborhoods.

“We’re working with the working class, the working people that have jobs at night, all hours of the day, work seven days a week,” she said.

Spanish-speaking interpreters walked participants through the process.

“The language barrier can be quite intimidating, and, with resources of this kind, sometimes that can be the one thing that keeps you from acquiring that service,” said Jose Pablo Barreda, one of the interpreters.

Organizers said they want to break down the language barriers and cut down travel time by using the mobile vaccine events.

If you’d like assistance in scheduling a COVID-19 vaccine appointment through the WNC Medical Society, can call 828-274-6989, press 4 for Spanish.