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Photo: Voto Latino Twitter
Voto Latino is taking its national outreach efforts and putting it to the test for COVID vaccines. Photo: Twitter - Voto Latino

Voto Latino, Uber partner to up the Latino vaccination rates nationwide

Overall vaccine hesitancy is trending down, but Latinos still represent a smaller minority of those getting the jab.

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As COVID-19 vaccinations continue to be distributed across the U.S., several states have begun reporting the demographic makeup of their vaccine distribution numbers. 

Latinos comprise a very low percentage of those receiving a vaccine, despite being disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. 

According to recent data collected by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Hispanics have received smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases, deaths and their total population in most states. 

For example, in Colorado, 11% of vaccinations have gone to Hispanic people, while they account for 41% of cases, 25% of deaths, and 22% of the total population in the state. 

On Wednesday, May 26, Voto Latino, the largest Latinx voter registration organization in the U.S, teamed up with Uber Technologies and GoGoGrandparent to launch an initiative to combat this disparity and provide more access to vaccination appointments. 

The initiative, which kicked off in Florida, offers the Latinx community free Uber rides to their vaccination location. The program intentionally reached out to Latinx people due to misinformation, language barriers and lack of transportation access.

“Our influence and trust within the Latinx community will help get more Latinos vaccinated so that we can return to some normalcy in our lives. We have a shared mission with Uber and GoGoGrandparent to provide vaccines to the most vulnerable communities and get us healthy,” said María Teresa Kumar, co-founding president and CEO of Voto Latino.

TV host and author, Mariana Atencio, helped the initiative by recording a message for the community and posting it on her personal Twitter account with the hashtag #VaxToProtect.

“Latinos and other communities of color, we’re getting vaccinated at slower rates across the country. And what I don’t want is for you to not get the vaccine because you don’t have access to a facility, you can’t get there, or you don’t have enough information. So, if you want to get vaccinated, call the hotline,” Atencio said. 

To support this effort, Uber has committed to donating 25,000 rides to Voto Latino. 

"Nobody should miss out on getting a vaccine because they can't get a ride," said Julia Paige, Uber's Director of Social Impact. 

GoGoGrandparent helps elderly people and disabled people to live independently in their homes by providing meals, groceries, medication deliveries and more. Hundreds of thousands of people now rely on these services throughout the U.S and Canada. 

"Getting vaccinated is such an important step forward, and we're excited to play a role with Voto Latino and Uber in helping people safely resume the activities and relationships that make our lives full," said Justin Boogaard, co-Founder and CEO of GoGoGrandparent.

Latinos in Florida are able to get a free ride to their vaccine appointment by calling the Spanish-English bilingual hotline. 

Following the initial launch, the vaccine equity pilot has expanded nationwide, adding on some new partnerships, including the Human Rights Campaign and the women’s activism group, Supermajority. 

Supermajority, founded by Cecile Richards, Ai-jen Poo and Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter, is a membership-based hub for women’s activism that affirms and builds the power in women of all ages, race and religions.

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