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Push is on to get Omaha-metro’s Hispanic community caught up with COVID-19 vaccines

Published: Mar. 2, 2021 at 10:49 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Nebraska’s Hispanic community is falling far behind in the race to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Just 3% have received the shot compared to 11% of white people to get the vaccine.

6 News went to OneWorld Community Health Centers headquarters in South Omaha Tuesday, where they’ve been working to vaccinate their patients along with as much publicity as possible. Andrea Skolkin is the CEO of OneWorld Centers and says language and technology barriers are just a couple of reasons fewer Hispanic people are signing up for the vaccine.

“Unless you have a son or daughter who can help you or a close relative they’re not going on that technology,” said Skolkin, noting for those undocumented, there’s also often mistrust. “The fear can be about if I give my information where is it going to go,” said Skolkin.

Those on the ground say there are also likely fewer Hispanic people eligible for the vaccine right now.

“We’re following the state guidelines and the 65 plus population and there’s probably not as many of those as working age populations,” said Skolkin.

The Douglas County Health Department will soon be making the vaccine that much more accessible.

“In the days to come, very shortly we expect to announce a long-term clinic site in South Omaha,” said Phil Rooney, Douglas County Health Department. “It will have extremely easy access in a very well known part of the community and we’re just locking up the final details on that.”

The county is also preparing to move to the next phase of the COVID-19 vaccine, which will include meat-packers. Possibly taking the vaccine directly to these essential workers.

“Virtually everything will be considered,” said Rooney. “We know in some cases they may want the health department to come in or another group to come in, so we’re working to figure out what will work best.”

And as more people get shot, Skolkin says, trust will grow.

“The more we can get to the working age population and they’re vaccinated the more you’re going to see older adults in the Hispanic population get the vaccine,” said Skolkin. “Then they talk to their family and friends and the next thing you know aunties coming in and parents are coming and the community is vaccinated.”

The Douglas County Health Department has been running a handful of clinics at the Kroc Center to reach those in South Omaha but believes setting up a permanent site in the will help push these vaccination numbers up along with other outreach efforts.

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