‘Promotoras' Help Community Members in Need Access COVID-19 Vaccine

A group of promotoras who are bilingual or multilingual are working in communities that are being disproportionately impacted by COVID-19

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Certified community health-care workers known as "promotoras" -- who have been working in the San Diego neighborhoods hardest hit by the pandemic, giving out critical pandemic supplies and offering resources -- are now focusing their efforts on helping people access the COVID-19 vaccine.

"We really, really care for our community and are very involved, and do it with a lot of love," Miriam Rodriguez told NBC 7.

Rodriguez said that when COVID-19 struck, there was a team that was ready to respond and to help bridge a communication and resource gap to underserved communities.

"When this opportunity came to lead, we're like, 'We've already been doing this for 20 years, we got this,' " Rodriguez said.

On Tuesday the promotoras stood outside of Cafeina Cafe, in City Heights, handing out face masks, hand sanitizer and blood-pressure monitors. They were also assisting people signing up for the COVID-19 vaccine and tried to remove any doubts.

"Sometimes, seeing that, 'Hey, this is a Latina mom in the community that's serving and she had the vaccine,' so I've really seen that that's helped," Rodriguez said.

COVID-19 is disproportionately affecting Black and Latino families, which is why San Diego County partnered with several nonprofits like the San Diego Latino Health Coalition to support the work of promotoras.

"This is a relief, honestly," Yunis Aparicio said. "it's something we need as a community."

Aparicio was given some resources on Tuesday, and she said these efforts helped her have the right information to translate to her grandparents, who only speak Spanish.

"I've been there, trying to guide them as to where to go, where to call," Aparicio said. "There's a few phone numbers I've been given that's helped them out."

The county has teams of promotoras whose members speak various languages, including English, Spanish, Arabic and Tagalog.

"I really don't see barriers, but I really see how can we work together to ensure our families have what they need," Rodriguez said.

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