Community health groups are deputizing teenagers to get the word out about COVID vaccines and testing, reports Heidi de Marco at Kaiser Health News.
“Teenagers communicate differently, and they get a great response,” said Sandra Celedon, CEO of Fresno Building Healthy Communities, a nonprofit that helped design an internship program. “During outreach events, people naturally want to talk to the young person.”
More than 84% of Latino and Hispanic adults have completed the primary vaccine series, but fewer than 13% have received the updated bivalent booster, according to CDC data. And de Marco reports that vaccine hesitancy and mistrust remain a challenge in some communities, particularly for those who speak Spanish at home.
Spanish-speaking advocates and promotoras — non-licensed community health workers that help people access health resources and make good choices — are particularly effective in Latino communities.
Many of the teens in Fresno’s Promotoritos health worker program are children of immigrants, refugees, or immigrants without legal status.
The internships also expose the Hispanic and Latino students to health care career options, where their demographic is underrepresented among physicians, de Marco notes.