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OneWorld breaks down barriers through Covid-19 outreach efforts

In July 2022, the OneWorld Covid-19 outreach team walked into the Intercultural Senior Center (ISC) expecting to educate a handful of individuals about Covid-19 variants and vaccines. What they weren’t expecting was the room to be filled with nearly 70 individuals who spoke many different languages.

The ISC is a community center who welcomes adults ages 50 and over with a particular focus on those who face barriers including language, culture, poverty and transportation.

“We were asked if we wanted a microphone, and we adjusted our presentation into English and Spanish,” said Jessica Garcia Lara, Community Health Worker. “The ISC had interpreters and we took turns presenting information in five different languages. When we finished our presentation, everyone waved and said goodbye. They made us feel like rock stars.”

All together, the outreach team gave the presentation in five different languages: Spanish, English, Karen, Nepalese and Burmese.

“As an immigrant and English not being my first language, I can really relate to what everyone in that room is going through,” said Jessica. “Oftentimes when you go to medical facilities, you don’t understand a single word they are saying. Medical terminology is difficult for anyone, especially for someone who doesn’t know English. However, with the help of the ISC’s interpreters, we were able to overcome these
language barriers to talk about Covid-19 to a very vulnerable population, and that is so important.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends adults ages 50 years and older receive two Covid-19 boosters to increase their protection from severe Covid-19 illness.

The team said many of the ISC members were not aware they were eligible for a second booster until they attended one of the two education presentations given by their team. In collaboration with the ISC, the Covid-19 outreach team coordinated two vaccine clinics at the ISC in July and administered over 60 vaccines to ISC participants and several ISC staff members.

“We also scheduled a few home visits for individuals from the ISC,” said Hector Sanchez, Community Health Worker. “These individuals, and many others we present to, face language and transportation barriers, and oftentimes they don’t have access to credible, up-to-date information. Our team breaks these barriers down every day to help our community be safe.”

In addition to visiting community organizations and businesses, the Covid-19 outreach team offers home visits for OneWorld patients and community members. Home visits are now available Monday through Saturday.

“We are looking forward to being able to offer Covid-19 vaccine home visits to more age groups as we get approval,” said Hector. “This will open many doors for us and help our patients and their children be protected against Covid-19.”

The Covid-19 outreach team recently administered their 1,000th vaccine through their community canvasing and home visit efforts.

The team agreed this would not be possible without the community’s commitment to health.

“Our work is really eye opening and shows how much the individuals we serve care about their health,” said Jessica. “It’s very cool to look at the 1,000 number and know that we have vaccinated that many people out in the community, and even more impactful to think about the connections we have made.”

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