Health Care Providers Begin Vaccine Outreach In Spanish

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Jorge Salinas, a university epidemiologist, The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics
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By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio News

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has started outreach in Spanish about the COVID-19 vaccine. Jorge Salinas, a university epidemiologist, hosted the question and answer session on Facebook Live for almost 1,000 viewers. He said this is one small part of the larger process to inform Spanish-speakers in Iowa about the vaccine.

“The bottom line is that we are very interested in providing accurate information to all of our, our patients and to people in Iowa, no matter what their ethnic background is or what language they prefer,” Salinas said.

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Salinas said it’s important health care providers fight against what he calls an “epidemic of misinformation,” especially for Latinos. He said the question and answer sessions have shown how COVID-19 is an “equalizer,” because many people, no matter their first language, ask similar questions. But, he said there’s one stark difference.

“It’s clear that some ethnic groups throughout history have not been treated equally, and have more reservations when it comes to new treatments or vaccines,” Salinas said. “That will be based on facts that occurred in the United States and throughout the world decades ago. So I think that we can counteract any possible fears that people may have with information, letting them know that rigorous clinical trials have been conducted, in this case for vaccination against COVID.”

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He said it is important that everyone have access to information about the vaccine, that it is safe. That way they will feel safe taking it.

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“The better informed our society is, the better we will respond to the epidemic, our hospitals will see fewer patients, and we will all be able to go on with our lives,” Salinas said.

Salinas has received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and encourages those who have the vaccine available to them, to take it.

“It’s always a good idea to take some time to think, to assess the situation, to assess new treatments, new vaccines, etc. But we are in an extraordinary situation,” Salinas said. “That’s why the Food and Drug Administration has provided an emergency use authorization. We’re in the middle of an emergency.”

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As more questions come in, Salinas said he is prepared to hold more information sessions.

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