INDIANAPOLIS — A vaccination hotline exclusively for Spanish-speaking residents in Indianapolis will be available on Saturday, March 27.
The City of Indianapolis and the Marion County Public Health Department have jointly expressed the need to improve vaccination rates among Indy's Latinx community. According to the City, only 2.8% of the Indianapolis Latinx community has received the vaccine.
“We do see that our community has a lot of fear with regards of taking the vaccine. There’s a lot of misinformation online,” said Mariana Lopez-Owens with the nonprofit, La Plaza.
She said barriers like language, technology and fear of personal information being shared contribute to the issue. Lopez-Owens said she is hopeful things will soon change and noted many in the Latinx community are younger than the current age restriction on Hoosiers eligible to sign up.
“Ideally we’d like to see that 2.8% number go up. Hopefully all Latino Hoosiers can get their vaccines,” Lopez-Owens said.
The 12-hour event will provide the Spanish-speaking community with bilingual volunteers who can set up their COVID-19 vaccination appointment for free. The hotline will also have medical professionals available from the MCPHD who can address questions and concerns about the vaccine.
“Getting vaccinated with any of the three approved vaccines will greatly reduce your risk of serious illness due to the COVID-19 virus, and I continue to invite everyone in our community to sign up for a vaccine as soon as you are eligible,” Dr. Caine, the director of MCPHD, stated in a release. “We are on the home stretch, but we have not reached the finish line just yet. In public, regardless of vaccine status, we all must continue to wear masks, wash our hands, and watch our distance. If we all keep doing our part, Indianapolis will continue heading back on track.”
Those interested can call the hotline at 317-221-2100 or 317-327-2100 anytime from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.
The City and MCPHD are working to increase vaccination rates in traditionally underserved neighborhoods, where there tends to be vaccine hesitancy. Those who are interested in helping out can look into becoming a COVID Community Ambassador with the City, which is available in both English and Spanish.
At the time of this report, all Hoosiers ages 40 and up — in addition to educators, healthcare workers, long-term care residents and first responders — can sign up to receive one of the three FDA-approved COVID-19 vaccines. Those eligible can sign up anytime by calling 211 or by visiting ourshot.in.gov.