Latinos Lagging Behind Others on COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance

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County data shows just 14% of coronavirus vaccines administered locally have gone to Latinos, a group that is tied to more than half of the cases in the region.

Among the factors causing the lag for some of the county's most vulnerable people, like older Latinos, are distrust, misinformation, and even inefficient online registration systems.

San Ysidro resident Mari Rodriguez, 68, said she would like to get the vaccine but doesn’t know where to sign up for it. 

In San Diego, residents 65 and older are eligible to be vaccinated. They first must register for an appointment online, which can be a challenge for older technology users.

“We have been getting a lot of calls from individuals who are frustrated because one, they don't know when it's their turn, and two, they might not be able to navigate the system,” said Nancy Maldonado, member of the Latino Health Coalition.

Even younger experienced internet users claim the website can be hard to navigate.

“As I’m navigating the county website, it could be a little bit confusing, even for me, someone who has more experience and knowledge in navigating computers and the internet,” said Daniel Ramirez, San Ysidro resident.

Ramirez has been trying to get his parents an appointment for the past week. 

“I’ve seen the impact that COVID-19 has had on a lot of families,” said Ramirez. “From people getting sick to unfortunate deaths. So for me, it's very important that my parents get vaccinated.”

Latinos represent more than half of the coronavirus infections in San Diego County and 44% of the deaths. 

But apart from language and technology barriers, many are still hesitant about the vaccine.

“We heard a number of things in terms of misinformation about the side effects, of potential risk factors such as death from the vaccine," said Maldonado.

Through transparency and honest messaging, the Latino Health Coalition hopes to break down all barriers keeping our Latino communities from the one weapon we have against the coronavirus. 

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