INDIANAPOLIS — Officials are making new efforts to reach people who may face language or other barriers that prevent them from registering for a vaccine.
A vaccination hotline exclusively for Spanish-speaking residents in Indianapolis will be open on Saturday. Bilingual volunteers will help callers set up their COVID vaccination appointments for free.
Medical professionals will also be available to answer questions and address concerns.
“Having that information coming from people like you and me, community members, sharing this information with family, neighbors, and loved ones,” explains André Zhang Sonera, a project manager for the City of Indianapolis. “So they are able to hear from them and not politicians, not people that are trying to push the vaccine as they say, so get trusted information from neighbors and have them get that to push out that hesitation that individuals have with this vaccine.”
Zhang Sonera said undocumented men and women are eligible and encouraged to get vaccinated.
“It doesn't matter your documentation status,” Zhang Sonera said. “It just has to be that you are a person that physically lives in the state of Indiana. So individuals can provide, you know, a photo ID, or bill statement, something that documents, that proves to the vaccination center that hey this person lives in Indiana that didn't come from a neighboring state to get the vaccine. So whether that document is was produced here in the mainland United States, whether it is a passport from a different country, as long as it has their name and a picture that they can provide, again, verification that they live in the state of Indiana, they can have access to the vaccine."
According to the city, less than 3% of the Indianapolis Latinx community has received the vaccine.
Rosa Vidal, a resident of Indianapolis’ east side, was initially hesitant to get vaccinated.
Vidal only speaks Spanish, through an interpreter, she explained why she was afraid: "I was afraid that vaccine wasn't good enough, that it could cause us more harm than good. That was my main fear."
She says she eventually changed her mind after thinking about other unknowns related to medicine and even food. Vidal is now scheduled to receive her second shot of the vaccine on Friday.
Saturday’s Spanish vaccination hotline goes from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The numbers are 317-221-2100 and 317-327-2100.
Click here for more information on the hotline event this weekend.
Watch the full interview of Rosa Vidal discussing her initial concerns of the vaccine and her message to other Latinx and Hispanic Hoosiers below.