Lehigh Valley’s Latino community shares mixed opinions on vaccination

Written by on April 6, 2021

 Lehigh Valley’s Latino community shares mixed opinions on vaccination

By Genesis Ortega

April 6, 2021

Maritza Muniz, a St. Luke’s University Health Network nursing student, giving a vaccine shot to a resident at a pop-up vaccination event at the Hispanic Center in Bethlehem. Photo| Genesis Ortega / WLVR

Latinos are one of the hardest-hit communities in the COVID-19 pandemic. But local health officials are concerned about barriers to vaccines for members of the Lehigh Valley’s Latino community. Some spoke out during a rainy outdoor event about their views on vaccination. 

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If one thing is true about Latinos in the Lehigh Valley, opinions about the vaccine are as diverse as the backgrounds that make up the community as a whole. 

Five Latinos, all from Bethlehem, had five different takes on the topic. 

Richard Nunez says he’s all for it. He says three of his close family members have died as a result of COVID-19. 

“Ya me di la primera vacuna. Gracias a Dios me siento bien,” Nunez says. 

Translation: “I’ve already received my first shot. Thankfully, I feel great.”

Manuel Fuentes says he had a very serious case of COVID but as far as the vaccine goes, he doesn’t plan on getting the shot. 

“La vacuna, a unos le va bien, y a otros no,” Fuentes says.  

Translation: “Some make out okay after getting the vaccine, but others don’t.”

Sylvestre Mate, who was infected with the virus, says he plans on getting vaccinated. But his wife, Betsy, who also had a serious case, says she doesn’t see the point of the vaccine and doesn’t think she will get the shot.

“Tengo miedo que no me morí con el COVID, y me pongo la vacuna y entonces sí me muera es porque entonces me puse la vacuna para prevenir el covid,” Mate says.

Translation: “I’m afraid because I didn’t die of COVID, but then if I get vaccinated and I die, then it’ll be because I got vaccinated to prevent COVID.” 

Madeline Lorenzana says she dragged her feet to make a decision, but only after a one-on-one conversation with her doctor. 

“Al principio, estaba un poquito indecisa porque hablaban tantas cosas y uno tenía que estar preparado,” Lorenzana says. 

Translation: “At first, I was hesitant because there was so much being said about it and one has to be prepared to take that step.”

Organizations like the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley, are working to reach underserved populations like the Latino community in recent weeks, offering pop-up clinics and Spanish language information sessions. 

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