Campaigns underway to inform people of color about vaccine safety after new COVID-19 outbreak at JBS

COVID-19 Vaccine

GREELEY, Colo. (KDVR) — New information from the number of COVID-19 cases at the JBS meat packing plant in Weld County shows more workers have become infected. This outbreak includes 68 workers who have tested positive. 

Those numbers are the reason Latino activists are trying to make sure those workers get vaccinations sooner than later. But there’s concern some people of color might not want to get the vaccine. 

Still, new efforts are underway to try to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to workers at the JBS plant in Greeley. 

The Latino Coalition of Weld County is asking the governor to include workers at the plant in the first round of vaccines. 

“Simply because of the critical nature of their work, close proximity and we know there have been outbreaks that have caused deaths at the JBS work plant,” Latino Coalition of Weld County President Stacy Suniga said.

Weld County’s two-week positivity rate is now at nearly 14%, about three times the level considered acceptable by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

There have been 24 deaths in the county since Dec. 1. 

About 30% of the population in Weld County is Latino. FOX31’s Vicente Arenas spoke to some who said say they will not be taking the vaccine. 

“I don’t think I would get the vaccine. You just never know what’s in it. I don’t take the flu shots either and I’ve been OK,” Angelica Espino, who works in a shop in Greeley, said.

Health workers say some people of color are at higher risk of contracting COVID because of crowded work places, the inability to work from home, and the number of people living in their homes.

Dr. Reginald Washington, the chief medical officer for Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children and Presbyterian St. Luke’s Medical Center, says the vaccine appears to be safe and is encouraging people to take it.

“If a large group of individuals say ‘We are not going to take the vaccine because we are afraid of it, we don’t trust it,’ they are more susceptible to getting COVID, which is not a good thing,” said Washington. 

Washington added that past experimental vaccines have left minority communities skeptical and distrusting of government medical programs. 

In Weld County, plans are being made to produce COVID vaccine campaigns in Spanish, something the Latino Coalition says will help convince more people of color to take the vaccine. 

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