TIMES UNION REPORTS – The Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition (NIHHC) ran successful drive-thru COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine clinics on Saturday in Elkhart and Warsaw, according to a press release from the organization.
At their fourth vaccination event in Elkhart, nine NIHHC and eight Heart City Health volunteers and staff members provided COVID-19 vaccines to the community of Elkhart County in the parking lot of NIHHC’s Elkhart office. The Pfizer vaccine was administered to 120 people in four hours. Fifty-four people received their first dose, and 66 people received their second dose. Of those vaccinated in Elkhart, 85% were Hispanic, and 25% were children between 12 and 17 years old.
At their second vaccination event in Warsaw, five volunteers and staff members from NIHHC, five from Kosciusko County Health Department and two from Warsaw-Wayne Fire Territory provided COVID-19 vaccines to the community of Kosciusko County in the parking lot of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 225 N. Gilliam Drive, Warsaw. The Pfizer vaccine was administered to 161 people in four hours. Fifty-two people received their first dose, and 109 people received their second dose. Of those vaccinated in Warsaw, 73% were Hispanic, and 31% were children between 12 and 17 years old.
Both vaccine clinics were held in partnership with REAL Services, the CDC Foundation and Radio La Raza WKAM-1460. The event in Warsaw was also supported by the City of Warsaw, K21 Health Foundation and Bowen Center.
NIHHC’s drive-thru Pfizer vaccine clinics have exhibited high turnout, attracting over 220 people on average per event, according to a news release from NIHHC. Due to staffing shortages with vaccine provider partners, NIHHC was forced to limit appointments for the Saturday event in Elkhart. In Warsaw, NIHHC saw a 22% increase in attendance from the first event. The solid turnout at both four-hour events still significantly outperforms the number of vaccines all other sites and providers are administering together on any one day, which is an average of 215 doses per day in Elkhart County and under 100 in Kosciusko County.
“We can only combat COVID-19 if we work together,” said Liliana Quintero, NIHHC executive director. “It is urgent that we, as a community, get vaccinated and provide the education, resources and support to those who still need the vaccine, so they can make an informed decision.”
NIHHC’s staff and volunteers are bilingual and culturally sensitive. They are also trained in COVID-19-related services. They are essential to reaching vulnerable populations who experience barriers to health care, the news release states. Hispanics have accounted for more than 50% of COVID-19 cases at times in northern Indiana.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to create a healthy community. We must act now,” said Quintero. “We need to keep the momentum going. More and more community members are understanding that the vaccine can save their lives and is a way to keep them out of the ICU at hospitals. We cannot stop our effort now.”
The Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition’s mission is to provide preventative health care programs to the communities of Elkhart, Kosciusko, Noble and St. Joseph counties through education, advocacy, physician referral and research so that they may lead healthier lifestyles.