(PHOENIX – May 13, 2021) – A Dignity Health in Arizona hospital epidemiologist warns that COVID-19 will continue to hit Hispanic or Latino communities if vaccination numbers do not improve quickly.
Hispanics or Latinos are more than three times as likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 as White people, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And, Hispanics or Latinos are more than twice as likely to die from the virus.
The rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine offers hope, but Hispanics or Latinos make up only a small percentage of the number of people vaccinated in Arizona, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Dr. Omar Gonzalez, infectious disease consultant and hospital epidemiologist for Dignity Health in Arizona, says misinformation about the vaccine circulating on social media plays a big role in vaccine hesitancy. This is something Dr. Gonzalez is diligently working to dispel.
“The vaccine is our most powerful tool to end the pandemic,” says Dr. Gonzalez. “I understand the hesitancy among some people to take the vaccine. But as a physician, a member of the statewide committee that approved the vaccine for use in Arizona, and fellow Latino, I can assure my peers that the vaccine is safe.”
Dr. Gonzalez notes that factors such as relatively limited access to health care or insurance might be impacting those numbers, too.
“The COVID-19 vaccine, no matter which one you get, is free and you do not need health insurance to receive one,” said Dr. Gonzalez. “I encourage you to review facts from credible sources to help you and your loved ones come to the decision to get vaccinated.”
- ### -