Volunteers are working to get more resources to Tulsa’s Hispanic community to help with COVID-19 vaccinations.
The latest data shows 19 percent of the Hispanic population in Tulsa County is vaccinated, compared to nearly 32 percent of the white population.
The Tulsa Health Department told News On 6 a language barrier, along with a lack of trust and access have created disparities for the Hispanic community, but more Hispanics are getting vaccinated thanks to collaboration between volunteers, the health department and the city.
The Tulsa Health Department reports 12.7 percent of Tulsa County residents identify as Hispanic. The department said this population makes up 13.4 percent of coronavirus cases in the county and four percent of COVID-19 deaths.
Michael Cox, Tulsa Health Department’s community relations coordinator, said leaders started looking for ways to help when the pandemic hit.
"Having these conversations with people in the community about what works best, what's culturally relevant and what are the best ways we can engage these people is really important when we were looking at addressing those disparities," said Cox.
Last summer, volunteers formed the Latinx COVID-19 Outreach Committee. Then, members of Leadership Tulsa's Hispanic Leadership Institute joined.
The group shared their progress this week during a virtual showcase.
Steve Lozano shared how the volunteers’ collaboration led to The Tulsa Health Department adding the word 'optional' to the social security section of the COVID-19 vaccination registration, which is what the group considers one of its biggest accomplishments.
Lozano said some people do not know that a social security number and health insurance are not required.
"Our group was concerned that the Tulsa residents were being skeptical about taking the vaccine due to confusion due to the registration of the THD paperwork," said Lozano.
The group has also made videos in Spanish on how to sign up and modify appointments on the state's vaccination portal, spread COVID-19-related information through Spanish-speaking media along with Facebook live discussions with doctors and other leaders within the Latinx community.
The next Facebook live event is Tuesday, May 11 at 6 p.m. on this Facebook page.
There are also Spanish speakers at vaccination sites to help.