News Article

COVID Vaccine Equity Insights

We are periodically featuring insights and lessons learned by grantees of Together We Protect, a partnership of Immunize Colorado, Colorado Vaccine Equity Taskforce, and 14 funders who came together to create Colorado’s COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Fund.

“The volunteers that give their hearts and hard work to the Filipino-American Community of Colorado are always out in the community talking to groups and sharing information on safety. With COVID, followed by hate acts against Asians, we thought our well-known center would be a welcoming and safe spot to provide information and host vaccine clinics,” said Vivian Egonio-Norman. Vivian, who first came to the Jefferson County-based center as a teen, now leads the 100% volunteer community-serving organization.

“As we began to market the vaccine clinics I quickly became the ‘“call center.” People had lots of questions – ‘Was the vaccine safe, Should they wait until there was more testing, Was it ok for non-Asians to be vaccinated at our clinics?’ We welcomed anybody and across the board there was a lot of misinformation and confusion.”

“It helped so much that we have people who speak different dialects – it made it easier to answer questions and explain things, and it clearly mattered a lot to people,” Vivian shared. “We had a call from a Hmong lady who was hesitant even though she is a nurse and understood the science. It took talking to people from her community to help her be comfortable with getting the COVID vaccine.

“Together We Protect funding supported us in providing education, marketing and accessibility to our vaccine clinics,” she said. “So far we have hosted 10 clinics, providing more than 5,000 doses of the vaccine. The support also helped us to make volunteering fun. We provided great Filipino food, had a kid-friendly area and snacks that kids like. This was especially important on the day that we vaccinated 300 children – it was a long, but successful day!”

Looking forward, Vivian says they hope to continue hosting vaccine clinics every three to four weeks. “With Omicron the need continues,” she says. “Everywhere we go we promote the clinics and share stories to increase understanding and help our community.”