FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - A new campaign is firing up to spread the word about COVID vaccines to minority residents who've been hit especially hard by the coronavirus.
Health officials say African Americans, Hispanics and those of Asian descent living in the community have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic, but for a number of reasons they are also more hesitant than other groups to get a COVID-19 shot.
An effort to address that situation is the motivation behind "Vaccine Registration Week", which will launch Saturday, April 10 and run through Saturday, April 17.
Volunteers stationed at food giveaways, residential complexes and churches, even barbershops, will distribute information about the vaccines, get people registered on the spot for shots, and try to break down barriers that might exist for folks who want to be vaccinated but so far haven't been able to.
There will be 30 different opportunities to participate during the week.
At vaccine registration locations, there could be language interpretation assistance for those who don't speak English well, or ways to sign up for a free ride to a vaccine clinic.
HealthVisions Midwest, which is taking a lead role in organizing the campaign, says it's not about coercing people into getting shots, but about giving them choices.
"We think there is value in giving them the information, so we've got a flurry of handouts that we've collected from the CDC that we're going to make available to people and they're going to be able to really get to know what is in those vaccines, what the after-effects, the side-effects are," said Sharon Tubbs, the director of HealthVisions Midwest of Fort Wayne.
Organizers argue this effort is needed in a big way, citing, for example, that African Americans make up 12 percent of Allen County's overall population, but they represent only 5.5 percent of those who've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in the county.
For vaccine registration locations and other information about "Vaccine Registration Week", you can call HealthVisions Midwest at 745-1600, or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.