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Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s team has a simple strategy for conducting vaccine outreach to Latinos. Photo: Photo by Stephanie Keith/Getty Images
Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s team has a simple strategy for conducting vaccine outreach to Latinos. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

AOC’s way to increase vaccinations among Latino constituents could be a model for the nation

AOC’s team is taking the issue of vaccine awareness directly to her Latino communities.

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Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez has launched a bilingual video series to increase Latinx vaccinations among her constituents. 

First reported by QNS, the effort by AOC consists of a video series featuring community leaders in her district’s Corona neighborhood. 

Nationwide, vaccine hesitancy among Latinos and BIPOC communities is an issue that is taking lives. AOC’s team is using the bilingual format, and the strategy of going directly to hardest-hit neighborhoods to combat the mistrust on the COVID-19 vaccine. 

To produce her Vaccine Outreach video series, she collaborated with leaders in the Corona neighborhood to target Spanish-Speaking Facebook users within a specific zip code. The videos feature medical staff from the community’s hospital, as well as faith leaders, members of the Street Vendor Project, and organizers from Make the Road New York.  

“It’s important for everyone to get vaccinated because only by getting the majority of people vaccinated will we end the pandemic,”  Dennise Camacho of Make the Road New York said in one of the 30-second campaign videos. Afterwards, she said she had no adverse reactions to getting the Moderna shot.

It's increasingly become the standard across the nation, that COVID-19 vaccines are available to everyone 16 and older. However, among harder to reach and underserved communities, the rate is actually decreasing.

There are a number of factors in place, ranging from accessibility, misinformation campaigns, and uncertainty. But at the root of the issue is a lack of outreach to these communities at the onset of the pandemic. 

The outreach conducted by local governments and municipalities has largely failed to get BIPOC communities to understand the benefits of the vaccine, and this boils down to the late outreach and strategy. 

For these reasons, AOC’s strategy, as is the case with other organizations using “boots-on-the-ground” tactics like those from Philadelphia’s Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, of meeting the community where it resides, is a big factor in increasing trust and turnout among targeted communities. 

Another factor AOC’s team is implementing is reaching Latinos where they are on social media. Facebook dominates in Latino presence, and her outreach campaign is primarily a Facebook initiative.

Facebook is also one of the primary spaces where Spanish-language misinformation is left unmoderated. To have this sort of content, with familiar faces from the community is a direct counter to the misleading conspiracies on the platform. 

In addition to the video campaign, AOC’s team is also hosting tabling events in the Corona neighborhood with information to encourage constituents to book vaccine appointments. 

They have also placed ads in local Spanish-language newspapers in the New York City region, reports QNS.

Latinos are skeptical of big names in news and public health for a number of reasons, which is why AOC’s strategy for community vaccine outreach may be an option for other municipalities to consider. The strategy isn’t extensive, but it could be very effective. 

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