CORVALLIS, Ore. -- Oregon State University is accelerating local efforts to improve vaccination uptake in the Latino community.
As of June 11, the Latino vaccination percentage is at 41% -- the lowest of any racial or ethnic group -- according to a press release from OSU.
The OSU Extension Service recently received two grants that total $225,000 to start statewide educational efforts.
Family and Community Health Program Leader Roberta Riportella said there were a lot of barriers in the beginning. But after working closely with families, she said the common theme that helps properly inform the Latino community is collaboration.
"We've tried to protect that population, we've tried to give them a lot of information about how to stay safe in COVID times. And now we have to make sure they get vaccinated," said Riportella.
With the efforts focused on Benton, Linn, Wasco and Hood River counties, Lane County is left off the list. But this is no accident.
Lane County, according to Lane County Public Health spokesperson Jason Davis, has the highest vaccinations rates per capita.
"One of the biggest things that we identified early on was that information was not readily available necessarlily not only in Spanish, but in other Latinx languages, in Mam and in other indigenous languages," said Davis.
To accomplish a better understanding of everything COVID-19 related, LCPH partnered with organizations like El Centro Latino Americano to make Latino community members feel more comfortable, and to keep them informed.
Marissa Zarate, representer of collaborative efforts between El Centro Latino Americano, Downtown Languages, and Huerto de la Familia, said efforts like these help build trust between health officials and community members.
"We're really seeing that in times of crisis, families turn to agencies that they are already familiar with and that they already trust in order to recieve services," said Varate.