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COVID-19 vaccine requests increasing among Latino community, Caridad Center CEO says

Misinformation continues to be biggest culprit for vaccine hesitancy
Posted at 2:33 PM, Sep 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-03 18:16:47-04

PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — The largest free health care clinic located near Boynton Beach has seen an increase among minority communities seeking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Laura Kallus, the CEO of the Caridad Center, said Friday they are seeing an increase in the demand for both COVID-19 tests and vaccinations.

The center serves predominantly Latino and Haitian communities.

She said they are starting to get 25 to 30 calls a day from people wanting to schedule a vaccine appointment as well as COVID-19 testing.

"Interestingly enough we went from 81 tests in July to now in August 200, so we're doubling the number of people coming for testing," Kallus said.

She said some of that has to do with businesses requiring workers to show proof that they are COVID negative before returning to the workplace.

Regarding an uptick in people coming to the center to be vaccinated, Kallus said the spread of the delta variant has been the main driving force.

"A lot of the people that are coming have gotten COVID, have suffered immensely, either themselves or in their family or friend group, and that is what is bringing them here to be vaccinated," Kallus said.

She said most of the people who come to the Caridad Center for care are essential workers and don't have the privilege of working from home.

Vaccination rates among the Latino community have lagged with the CDC reporting a little more than 33 percent fully vaccinated nationwide.

Misinformation continues to be the biggest culprit that has caused lower-income individuals to avoid getting the vaccine, according to Kallus.

"Some of that is coming from the faith-based community. So for us, using our community health workers and trying to educate people," Kallus said. "People's religious and spiritual beliefs are very strong, so we are trying to partner with local pastors to get the information out and get the right information out."

The Caridad Center is providing COVID-19 vaccines the last Tuesday and Saturday of each month from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment only. Make an appointment by calling 561-600-1675.

The center will start ramping up again walk-in clinics for the general public starting next week.