Nashville’s new campaign to boost COVID-19 vaccination rates among communities of color includes plans for immigrants, refugees and people who don’t consider English their primary language.
The city will be attempting to overcome barriers to both educate them and make the shots more easily accessible.
The Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition has been involved in developing the plan and generally supports it. Advocacy Director Judith Clerjeune says it’s clear some things stand in the way of these populations getting vaccinated.
“If you look at current statistics you will see that reflected,” Clerjeune says. “I think there are language barriers, people not having access to the information they need.”
Other factors have included inconvenient vaccination sites and operating hours.
Communities of color, including immigrants, have been hit disproportionately hard by the pandemic. But so far they’ve lagged in getting their vaccinations. The mayor’s office is working to make the shots more accessible to vulnerable communities and assure them that they’re safe and effective.
According to the current plan, mobile vaccine strike teams will be deployed to immigrant neighborhoods for at least 12 weeks, but they’ll likely be working for more than a year. Announcements are getting translated into six target languages, including Spanish, Arabic and Kurdish.
Metro is also relying on its relationships with well-established partners and leaders within immigrant communities to help distribute information. And the city’s Spanish-language COVID hotline can now make appointments for people to get the vaccine.
Tennesseans can get vaccinated regardless of their immigration status.