Rep. Gallego urges Latinos to get vaccinated during community vaccination event in Maryvale – The Arizona Republic

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As COVID-19 vaccination efforts continue underway in the Valley, Rep. Ruben Gallego urged Latinos to get vaccinated during a vaccination and health care event on Thursday at Chicanos Por La Causa’s office in Maryvale.

With cooler temperatures and winter soon hitting the Valley, Valle del Sol, Honest Arizona and Chicanos Por La Causa, among other organizations, put on the weekend-long event so more people can protect themselves from COVID-19 as well as from the seasonal flu.

“It is very important that we get vaccinated because it is a weapon that allows us to fight this terrible disease and we must not lower our guard,” Carmen Heredia, executive director of Valle del Sol, said to La Voz. “In addition, the time is coming when flu and influenza appear and we must protect ourselves.”

In partnership with the office of Rep. Gallego, the healthcare event will provide vaccines against COVID-19, influenza and other wellness services, as well as feasting on free tacos, from Thursday, Oct. 7 to Saturday, Oct. 9.

Rep. Gallego, who was present during the Thursday event, said he supported the event and all preventative initiatives that help reach Latino and communities of color. He called for more awareness in the community and emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, especially for those with a family.

“If a working father or mother falls ill from COVID, an entire family is affected and in more than one way … vaccines save lives. Activities like this bring the vaccine closer to those who have not had the time to take care of their health,” said Gallego.

People who attended the start of the event on Thursday in Maryvale were able to get tested for COVID-19, receive their first, second or booster Pfizer shot, and if they wanted to, get the flu shot as well.

“I noticed the activity and I am coming from downtown Phoenix. I am a cancer survivor and that is why I seek to protect myself with the flu vaccine. I already have the two doses against COVID but I don’t have insurance, that’s why I came here,” said Laura Sáenz, who attended the event with her daughter.

The vaccination event and health fair took place at the Chicanos Por La Causa office in Maryvale from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9.

Other community organizations set up booths to provide information on how to obtain resources for uninsured families, the WIC program for women, infants and children, access to mammograms and much more.

Felipe Navarro, a Maryvale resident, urged the Latino community to rid themselves of the idea that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is bad, or that they don’t need to.

“Today I am getting my third dose (booster shot) against COVID-19 because I want to be protected … and if we all do it, we also protect our families, our neighborhoods,” Navarro said.

The vaccination event and health fair took place at the Chicanos Por La Causa office in Maryvale from Oct. 7 through Oct. 9.

Of the 4.2 million people who have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, only 17.3% are Latinos, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

According to recent data compiled by the nonprofit group Kaiser Family Foundation, the lower vaccine rates among Latinos means a higher percentage of Latinos remain unvaccinated and leaves them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19, particularly as the more infectious delta variant spreads.

The overall lower vaccine rates among Latinos can be attributed to several reasons, from continued inequitable access to the vaccine, fear of the vaccine, cultural and language barriers, and misinformation, experts say.

That 4.2 million represents about 59.1% of the total population. However, 51.6% of all Arizonans had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as of Thursday, which is below the national rate of 56.2%, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaccination events at Valle del Sol

Friday, Oct. 8

Location: Valle del Sol (8410 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix)

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 9

Location: Valle del Sol (8410 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix)

Time: 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Reporter Daniel Gonzalez contributed to this article.