Sedgwick County works to encourage youth, Latinos to sign up for COVID-19 shot

Published: Apr. 5, 2021 at 10:39 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Now that COVID-19 vaccines is available for most people in Kansas, the state continues to face challenges reaching some groups. Among those groups are the Latino population and young people.

“In my opinion, I’m not going to take it,” said Xjohnna Hanna. “I just don’t feel like it’s safe. It’s not something I could really trust at this point.”

Sedgwick County said it’s been hard trying to get people in the 18 to 30 age group to sign up to get vaccinated.

“Me personally I haven’t necessarily came into contact with anybody with COVID,” said Hanna. " I haven’t had to quarantine or anything like that. I haven’t really experienced COVID to where I feel like I need to be do something so I don’t get sick.”

The county said it’s trying to work with colleges, universities and high school’s to try and reach younger people.

Another group the county is trying to reach is the Latino community.

“With COVID it’s too important to not do everything we can to really come together and get the message out,” said Sedgwick County Commissioner Sarah Lopez. " This vaccine is safe, it’s free, we don’t care who you are. The biggest concern for us is just to get as many shots in arms as possible.”

Lopez said she doesn’t feel like enough outreach with the Latino community has been done throughout the years, but right now with COVID, it’s especially important not to look over that group of people who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

“When we think about some of the people in these communities, I mean they’re our essential workers,” said Lopez. “They’re in the front lines. They’re the ones making sure that our community is able to continue to do everything that we need to do, even in this pandemic. It’s just important that we get everybody vaccinated.”

Lopez said she’s been trying to bring together some Latino leaders in the community to help and educate the community.

“We just want to figure out the best way to come together, so that we’re getting the same message out to everybody,” said Lopez.

Lopez will be holding a Townhall with other Latino leaders at 6 p.m. next Tuesday, April 13 at the North High School Lecture Hall.

“Hopefully that will help build some of that trust and help realize this is safe if they’re hearing it from someone they already trust,” said Lopez.

The county also said anyone can get the vaccine despite immigration status. It’s also providing interpreters for those who can’t speak English.

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