APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – April is National Minority Health Month, and as more people become eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, the Wisconsin Department of Health (DHS) has awarded more than 6 million dollars to several organizations to focus on the disproportionate impact the pandemic is having on these communities.
Kou Yang, Director of US 2 Behavioral Healthcare says, “Our target groups are going to be our Hmong, Spanish-speaking Latino communities, Congolese community in the Fox Valley, and Black or African American populations.”
Us 2 Behavioral Healthcare is working to help get more people of color to vaccination sites because people of color lag behind whites in getting the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Wisconsin DHS.
Of all these groups there’s one common obstacle to getting people of color to vaccination sites.
Yang says, “The main barrier to all these groups is going to be having somebody who looks like them, who speaks the language greet them and show them where to go and how to go about getting the vaccine.”
US 2 Behavioral Healthcare outreach specialists says different groups face challenges.
Sheng Lee-Yang, a Hmong outreach specialist says, “It’s really going to be accessibility. The way that the vaccines have been distributed right now makes it very challenging for individuals to access it.”
Alandra Sanchez, a Latino outreach specialist says, “I’ll be working with the Latino population by providing not only language support but also just being on-site and answering any questions that they might have.”
Yang says his organization plans to use its $81,000 dollar grant to get more shots in the arms of minorities through outreach. “We plan on doing a couple of things, creating professional videos, educational videos in their native language.”
US 2 Behavioral Healthcare says its vaccine informational campaign will start mid to late May.