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Seminole County focuses on vaccinating Hispanic community

Officials: It’s unclear what portion of county’s Hispanic population has been vaccinated

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – Rubi Rendon was able to bring her in-laws to Forest Lake Church on Monday to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

She said it hasn’t been easy finding a place to get the shots for them but was finally able to with the help of some Spanish speakers over the phone.

“I’m so grateful, so grateful. They treated us well. Honestly, everything was easy, especially for people like us, the Hispanics, we can speak in our language,” Rendon said.

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Seminole County officials said they partnered with a local Hispanic communications group, Fire Ant Communications, to help spread the word out to seniors who have language barriers.

Five-hundred appointments were scheduled for Monday.

“This has been a very grassroots effort where I have been physically calling every single person and making sure we have an appointment. We have people asking, ‘Well I live with my grandma, my aunt, and we have the several generations in a household,’ so it’s been very important educating them on what’s going on,” said Paula Machado, with Fire Ant Communications.

Health officials said 45,000 residents have gotten vaccinated so far in Seminole County but the percentage of Hispanics still remains unknown since many are not filling out their race or ethnicity when registering for an appointment.

“As we look through the statistics, there’s a large number of ‘other’ and ‘unknown’ marked and so we’ve been educating our registration desk and even our vaccine providers, ‘Please review the forms so we can get an accurate picture of how many in our community we are reaching,’” said Donna Walsh, with the Florida Department of Health in Seminole County.

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