Once or twice a year, Santa Maria Community Services holds a health fair in Price Hill. This Saturday, alongside the mammograms and food distribution, the fair has something new: COVID testing and vaccinations.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, just over 23% of Hispanic people in Hamilton County have started the vaccine regimen. For non-Hispanic people, the number is more than 30%. Among people who are fully vaccinated, nearly 13% are Hispanic, and 22% non-Hispanic.
Christy Cauley, Santa Maria Community Services' marketing and communications specialist, says there is some distrust among Hispanic residents. "There are undocumented people out there and they're worried they're going to have to show some kind of ID to get their vaccine," Cauley says. "There's a lot of, I think, misunderstanding about the vaccine. A lot of people have the attitude of 'I'm going to wait and see. I'm going to let some other people get the vaccine. I'm going to see how it goes, and then I'll get it.' "
Cauley says ID will be required at Saturday's clinic, but it can be a consulate card, or passport, not just a driver's license.
The pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine didn't help. Cauley says another Santa Maria vaccination effort started with 100 doses of J&J. "We went door-to-door on Monday. We went to all the businesses in Price Hill and talked to people. We told them the Johnson and Johnson is safe. It's one shot. You don’t have to worry about it. And then the next day they put a hold on Johnson and Johnson vaccine."
She says Santa Maria has built a lot of trust in the community, and the hope is that will translate into more people getting vaccinated. "We have a wellness director who is Hispanic. She's bilingual. She was going through the community and talking to people," Cauley says. "There's also a video with (former Cincinnati Bengal) Anthony Muñoz. We've been sharing that a lot on social media. He has a lot of trust in the community."
Saturday's clinic will feature Pfizer vaccines. Cauley says they have 200 doses through the Cincinnati Health Department, and as of Thursday morning, had more doses than appointments. She says that leaves the door open for walk-ins.
The clinic will be at the Price Hill Recreation Center Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. In addition to vaccinations, Santa Maria will offer coronavirus testing, mask and PPE distribution, and mammograms by appointment.
Cauley says in 2015, Price Hill had about 7,350 Hispanic residents, about 21% of the neighborhood's total population.
And earlier version of this story had the incorrect number of Hispanic residents in Price Hill.