Okatie church holds COVID-19 vaccine clinic for the Lowcountry’s Latino community

Updated: May. 22, 2021 at 8:51 PM EDT
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OKATIE, S.C. (WTOC) - According to the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, over 35 percent of Palmetto State residents are considered fully vaccinated. The Hispanic and Latino community only accounts for nearly 4 percent of fully vaccinated people in South Carolina. Some community leaders are working to increase that total.

In an effort to help vaccinate more people in the Lowcountry, Latino community leaders are coming together to make sure people not only understand the COVID-19 vaccine, but also have easy access to it.

“As soon as we get the vaccine, the sooner we can get the masks out of our life. So if you hate to have a mask in your face, get the vaccine. It will help us, it will help the community,” said Pastor Jose Rosado of Ministerio Internacional Ebenezer.

An Okatie church opened their doors for DHEC on Saturday in hopes of helping their neighbors get vaccinated. While DHEC couldn’t tell us how many people were vaccinated due to privacy concerns, they had the Johnson & Johnson vaccine available. The event was planned thanks to a local magazine, law office and realtor who all said they feel it’s their responsibility to help, especially as several serve the community in public jobs like the hospitality industry. They say fear plays a role in the low turnout of Latinos for vaccination, which currently stands at about 5.6 percent in Beaufort County.

“We’re having lower rates of Latinos vaccinated in South Carolina and I know that’s sometimes there’s some fear for coming here and I want to tell them that it’s safe, you don’t have to bring any documentation, you just only show up and get the vaccine,” said Mayra Rivera, of the Immigration Law Office.

Leaders hope others will be encouraged to follow suit and become vaccinated.

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