PHOENIX - Doctors are urging the Latino and Hispanic communities to get vaccinated because this population in the state is falling behind.
"It breaks my heart as a physician, science person.. I know this vaccine is effective and highly safe and it's saving lives," said Dr. Omar Gonzalez, an epidemiologist at Dignity Health.
Gonzalez says only about 13% of the total vaccination rate is from Latinos when the state is comprised of 30 to 33% of that population.
The reason for this could be a number of things, from economic hardship, to lack of transportation, or lack of insurance.
"In addition to misinformation, not able to get to accurate sources to get the vaccine, creating a lot of conspiracy theories making people hesitant to go for it," said Gonzalez.
But Gonzalez says the issues that come with these lower vaccination numbers are serious. According to the CDC, Hispanics and Latinos are more than three times as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 as white people and Hispanics are more than twice as likely to die from the virus.
"In consequence to me means that our population is vulnerable still, we want to reach them."
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Continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Arizona officials urged to get more vaccines into Latino neighborhoods
- Arizona sites now offering Pfizer vaccine to children ages 12 to 15
- Getting coronavirus updates in Spanish is a mixed bag in the US
In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Monitor your health daily