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This article was created by MassLive, written by Anne-Gerard Flynn

"COVID-19 education has been a priority for Esparza-Perez whose federally-qualified health center serves a high percentage of Hispanic or Latino patients. It provides primary and preventative care in both English and Spanish.

COVID-19 hospitalization rates for such patients are much higher than those of non-Hispanic whites, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Government agencies, as well as others, have highlighted the need for information about the virus — and the two recently authorized vaccines — to be accessible to blacks, Latinos and people of color.

“I was looking like a mad man,” Esparza-Perez said. “Telling everyone on the street who would listen that I got vaccinated as well as on my social media and having lots of conversations with people at work as well as with my patients. The science behind the vaccine is very solid, side effects are mild and well-tolerated in the majority of cases.”

Vaccine education that Holyoke Health has done with staff has resulted in many of them being immunized, Esparza-Perez said. He is optimistic for similar results with patients as the state’s timeline for who can get vaccinated begins to broaden.

“People respond very well once they understand,” Esparza-Perez said. “We make the information we give personal and local. If you don’t take the time to do this, then people resort to finding information wherever they can. If you know how to explain it and give them the right sources for information, people respond positively.”

Some 70 percent of the 24,000 patients that Holyoke Health serves annually in Holyoke, Chicopee and surrounding communities, identify as Hispanic or Latino."

To read the entire artcile, visit MassLive at www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2021/02/health-care-providers-urge-latino-community-to-get-covid-19-vaccine

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