Orange County

Fears, obstacles keeping Latinos from getting COVID-19 vaccine

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — When an appointment opens up to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the Orange County Convention Center, it’s filled almost immediately.

But health department officials said very few people who come through are Latino.

“With Latinos, you also have a high percentage of people who are undocumented,” Orange County health officer Dr. Raul Pino said.

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Sister Ann Kendrick and Nilka Melendez work with undocumented families through the Hope Community Center in Apopka. We asked them about the fears with which many are faced.

“They’re afraid to go over there. They have to drive and they don’t have licenses,” Melendez said. “So that’s a big issue.”

“It’s transportation to the places, it is exposure, it is fear of immigration,” Kendrick said.

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But is it safe for someone who is undocumented to get a vaccine? Pino said it is.

“Our data is not shared with anyone,” he said. “The state health department cannot share, by law, the data we (gather with) the FBI, with immigration, with anyone. We just can’t.”

Pino said HIPAA protects their information.

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Adam Poulisse,

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.