FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Amani Family Services, a local non-profit, is hosting a vaccine clinic Wednesday afternoon to help immigrant and refugee communities in Allen County.
Prior to the clinic, the non-profit organization held virtual sessions on Facebook in languages like French, Arabic and Bosnian to teach viewers how the vaccine works and address any questions. CEO Irene Paxia said the most common questions from viewers were related to the overall effectiveness of these vaccines.
These virtual sessions are one of the only resources available for individuals who don’t use English as their primary language.
Vaccination efforts in Indiana, like other areas of the country, have lagged in minority communities. According to the most recent data from Indiana’s Department of Health, Asians account for 2.6% of Indiana’s 16 and older population, but only 1.7% of those fully vaccinated. 6.2% of Hoosiers 16 and older identify as Hispanic or Latino, but they only account for 2.4% of the population that is fully vaccinated.
According to Paxia, language barriers are a primary reason why many minority communities are behind in the state’s vaccination rollout. Because of those potential language barriers, it could be overwhelming for these individuals to register for a vaccine and come in for an appointment.
“It’s both an issue of a language barrier, but also an issue of trust or a sense that because information is not in my language, perhaps I shouldn’t be concerning myself with it,” Paxia said.
Paxia’s added the agency’s goal is to provide enough information to these individuals so they can make an educated decision. If they do decide to get vaccinated, Amani Family Services and similar non-profits can assist by making sure they have the resources to get a shot.
“If they do decide to get the vaccine, we can walk alongside with them,” Paxia said. “We can just be there for them if the barriers are hard to overcome.”
Amani Family Services is partnering with Meijer and other local non-profits to administer up to 200 first doses of the Pfizer vaccine Wednesday. Pre-registration for the event closed on Tuesday, but if all goes well, Amani hopes the non-profit will be able to hold additional vaccine clinics for minority communities around Allen County.