‘Making a difference’: Waterbury making effort to boost COVID vaccines among city’s Latino community

New Haven

WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The City of Waterbury is making an effort to vaccinate its Latino population against COVID-19. This as the state has opened up nearly 100 walk-in, no appointment necessary vaccine clinics across Connecticut.

Every Thursday, you could hear Spanish music filling the city’s South End community. It’s coming from The River Baldwin Rec Center on East Liberty Street. That’s where, since late February, Thursdays have been critical when it comes to reducing the spread of COVID-19 in the city and increasing the number of people in the city’s Latino community getting their COVID shots.

Joselyn Nunez and her husband were two of 140 people vaccinated at the clinic Thursday.

“If we don’t get vaccinated this is going to get worse and worse,” she said.

Nunez knows the pain of the virus — literally. She and her husband both got it in October.

“I was scared yeah,” she said. So was her husband.

“I don’t want to be alone and lose my wife,” he said. “I love her.”

The Thursday clinics are sponsored by the city, Waterbury Hospital, and Waterbury’s Hispanic Coalition. State Rep. Geraldo Reyes is one of the driving forces of the coalition and the clinics.

“When the COVID-19 vaccinations started, communities of color were left behind,” said Rep. Reyes. “The South End is 58 percent Hispanic…and I don’t want this community to be forgotten.”

Administrators at the clinic admit there’s still some vaccine hesitancy out there. Joselyn knows several people in the community who refuse to get vaccinated.

“They just don’t want to do it.,” she said. “They said they don’t trust it.”

Despite those sentiments, representatives from Waterbury Hospital say the Thursday clinics are a success story. They tell News 8, 1,500 shots have been administered since the doors opened in late February.

“Making a difference and making sure the Hispanic community gets vaccinated,” said Yarixa Lopez of Waterbury Hospital.

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