Colorado taskforce offers free vaccine seminars for communities of color

COVID-19 Vaccine

DENVER (KDVR) — The Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce continues its efforts this week to ensure people who are Black, Latinx, or Native American will get the same access to the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to the general public.

The organization has met with the governor’s office to ensure the rollout plan doesn’t leave behind people of color, while spreading facts about the vaccine to those that are hesitant. 

“Our goal is to give them the information to make an informed decision for themselves, so that they can say yes I have all the information and now I can move forward with getting the vaccine,” said Ozzie Grenardo, Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer at Centura Health and member of the taskforce. “We want to make ourselves available.”

Responding to polling information that shows people who are Black, Latinx and Native American might be less likely to take the COVID-19 vaccine, the taskforce’s new website that just launched gives organizations and community groups the opportunity to book a speaker from the taskforce, inviting them to share the facts about the COVID-19 vaccine and answer all questions the group may have. So far, the task force has seen two bookings.

“We are ready and willing to work with anyone,” said Grenardo. “The taskforce is a large diverse group. If one person doesn’t have an answer, we have someone else that will.”

The taskforce has set the goal of ensuring 80% of all Colorado adults who are Black, Latinx and Native American get vaccinated against the destructive and deadly virus by this fall.

“I’m confident that when our communities get factual information about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccines, they will choose to take it to protect themselves and their families,” said Grenardo.

“Scientists of color have contributed greatly to the development and dissemination of these vaccines and our communities have come forward to volunteer for trials in large numbers, helping to ensure we are represented in the science and the positive results,” said Grenardo.

While Colorado does have tiers in its vaccine rollout plan, there’s no specific guidance for within the general public. Communities of color have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic and the taskforce wants the state health department to outline a distribution plan to ensure they don’t slip through the cracks.

The taskforce plans to discuss community vaccine clinics, transportation and communication methods beyond internet usage.

“If you’re having to sign up for the vaccine and you need an email address and internet access to do so, that is a barrier,” said Sen. Julie Gonzales. 

Gonzales tells FOX31 she recently had a triple funeral on Monday for her mother-in-law, husband’s grandfather and uncle who all died from COVID-19.

“This a matter of life or death,” said Gonzales. “We need to make sure the information getting out in the community is clear, concise, translated and accessible to folks even if they don’t have internet. It’s critically important.”

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