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Colorado Springs groups focus on vaccine equity

Posted at 8:02 PM, May 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-26 08:02:05-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — As Coloradans receive vaccines, equity and making sure everyone has access to the vaccine has been top of mind for groups across the state.

Julissa Soto, Director of Statewide Programs for Servicios de la Raza has seen the impacts of the pandemic for the Latinx community first hand.

"This pandemic highlighted there's not equity for all, my community was one of the ones left behind," Soto said.

This is why Soto has coordinated efforts and knocked on doors of Latinx families in Colorado Springs, clearing up any misinformation or confusion when it comes to getting the vaccine.

"For me everything is about a relationship," Soto said, she's planning additional efforts to reach out to people in the coming weeks. She spends a lot of time traveling the state and educating people Latinx Coloradans about healthcare access and with the pandemic, it's become especially necessary.

Vaccine equity is something local clinics in southeast Colorado Springs have focused heavily on over the past few months.

Peak Vista and Matthews-Vu, two of the clinics in the area have utilized their spaces to expand access to people.

"Our mission here is to provide care to people who have access barriers," Dr. Joel Tanaka, Senior Vice President of Medical Services with Peak Vista said.

Both Peak Vista and Matthews-Vu opened clinics in southeast Colorado Springs a couple of years ago, in an area known as a health desert in the Pikes Peak region.

"This is one of our more populous clinics," Tanaka said about the clinic on Jet Wing Drive, "it very quickly became populated with people who just weren't able to get care anywhere else."

Since opening the clinic in 2019, Peak Vista has seen more than 11,000 patients at the clinic- not including people showing up for COVID-19 vaccines. The number then goes past 26,000.

Throughout the vaccine distribution process, Peak Vista placed a focus on reaching communities- including the Latinx community. The Jet Wing drive location- a key piece of that. According to Peak Vista's data, 91 percent of self-identified Latinx vaccine recipients have received the vaccine at the southeast clinic.

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