An NPR member station
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Spokane Health Workers Reach Out To Overcome Vaccine Hesitancy

Flickr Creative Commons

Health care outreach workers in Spokane say they’re trying new methods to get skeptical non-vaccinated people to get their Covid shots.

Selina Leem from the health district says one strategy that has paid off in Spokane’s Marshallese community is to enlist the support of church leaders.“When they say, ‘Ok, please go get vaccinated and I have gotten vaccinated,’ using personal stories to tell people who go to their churches or people who attend many events they are a part of, then that really encourages the people because our people really look up to them," Leem said.

Leem says providing written materials about the virus and the vaccines in the language of the Marshallese people has helped to lower the communications barriers.

She says the percentage of Marshallese people in Spokane who have contracted the coronavirus is much lower than it was a year ago.

Health district outreach worker Iryna Gusarenko says the Slavic community has been generally resistant to the vaccine as well. But she says she and a local Slavic business owner are planning a public vaccination clinic for next month.

“We have big expectations for it and, hopefully, this will be the first step of leaving Slavic people to start trusting that the vaccine is really working and there is nothing scary about it," she said.

Outreach worker David Castro, who works with the people in the Latino community, says some community clinics have adjusted their hours to make it easier for people to come in after work or on weekends to get shots.