Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap

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The COVID-19 vaccination rate among Hispanics and Latinos is lagging behind all other races in Denver – and the divide appears to be widening.

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running news: In the past few weeks, city health officials have increased vaccine access to K-12 public schools to target students and their families.

  • The city launched an in-school vaccination program, offering free vaccines to eligible students and their relatives.
  • The intention behind the strategy is to increase vaccination rates for Latino students ages 12 to 17, while encouraging those close to them to get the shots, officials told Nerdshala.

why it matters: The Hancock administration hopes that bilingual students can encourage their illiterate parents, who often face technical and language barriers, among other challenges, including access to vaccination sites and fear of missing out on work.

  • During the pandemic, officials in several states, such as California and Massachusetts, have leaned on children, when possible, to help parents understand the health risks and benefits of vaccinations, writes Russell Contreras of Nerdshala.
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By numbers: An Nerdshala analysis found that vaccination disparity among eligible Latinos compared to the white population increased significantly from April to June, decreasing slightly from July and increasing since early August.

  • As of September 12, only 44.7% of eligible Hispanic and Latino people age 12 and older were fully vaccinated, compared to 76.9% of eligible white Denver residents, Denver Public Health statistics Display.

zoom out: Across Colorado, vaccine rates among Hispanics continue to lag behind other populations, according to statistics from the state health department.

  • Only 57% of eligible Hispanic Coloradans are immunized, compared to 98% of white residents in the state.
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big picture: Although the number of Latinos vaccinated in some of America’s most populous cities is slowly increasing, people of color “are less likely to receive the vaccine than their white counterparts, putting them at increased risk, especially when variance spreads,” according to recently released research from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

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