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Bilingual interpreters helping Hoosiers get vaccinated

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Posted at 7:01 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-29 07:23:25-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Right now, just over 3% of Hoosiers who are fully vaccinated are Hispanic or Latino.

The Marion County Public Health Department is working to reach more people that are part of those populations.

Edgardo Ortiz Sanchez is an interpreter at a vaccination clinic, located on East 33rd Street in Indianapolis.

He said he is very proud to be able to help people in the Spanish-speaking community get vaccinated.

“I had the privilege of growing up in a place where I learned English at the same time I was learning Spanish so I want to be part of something that would help people that did not have the same kind of resource I did while I was growing up,” Ortiz Sanchez said.

On Wednesday, he accompanied Tiveria Teles through the process as she received her first shot of Pfizer.

“Para poder tener protección contra COVID-19,” Teles said.

“So she could have protection against COVID-19," Ortiz Sanchez interpreted.

“When approached to do the interview she said she wanted to do it for the betterment of the community. She wanted to make sure that other people and other Hispanics that are not necessarily comfortable taking the vaccine would see somebody that actually took the vaccine that is Hispanic and only speaks Spanish,” Ortiz Sanchez said.

The vaccine clinic on East 33rd Street can accommodate up to 900 patients each day. Staff at the site said many of them are Hispanic or Latino.

“About half of all of our people that come in to be vaccinated do speak Spanish,” Shanaya Green, a nurse practitioner at the site said.

When Spanish-speaking individuals come in they are met with an interpreter who walks with them throughout the entire process.

Ortiz Sanchez or one of the other interpreters answer questions and explain each step to the patient so that they feel safe and learn more about the vaccine they are getting.

“For me, it’s very important to see that the language barrier is not something that is detaining people from coming and accessing healthcare,” Ortiz Sanchez explained.

Efforts like this are helping get vaccination numbers up and help with vaccine hesitancy among minority groups in Indiana.

Teles said having an interpreter along with her helped her feel more secure about the process, "Me sentí seguro de completar el proceso."

For more details on which vaccination locations have interpretation services, you can call 211 or click here.

Para obtener más detalles sobre qué lugares de vacunación tienen servicios de interpretación, puede llamar al 211 haga clic aquí.