CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Updated COVID-19 vaccines are now available at some pharmacies around the state.
Some clinics, including Centro Medico Latino, are still waiting to obtain the shot next month.
Even though the burden of the virus is lower than before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns hospitalizations and deaths from the virus remain high.
According to the CDC, Hispanics accounted for 15% of the COVID-19 deaths.
Centro Medico Latino, which primarily provides low-cost primary care and other specialties to uninsured and underinsured member Latino patients, is encouraging patients to get the new shot.
“This new COVID vaccine is not really a booster. It’s almost a primary vaccine, because it’s got new coverage for the virus,” CML Medical Director Carlos Rish said.
Rish plans to encourage patients to receive the flu and COVID-19 vaccines together.
In North Carolina, according to statistics from the state Department of Health and Human Services, in the past Hispanics had slightly higher COVID-19 vaccination rates than non-Hispanics throughout the pandemic.
Back then, Centro Medico Latino saw high demand at vaccination clinics.
“We would see hundreds of patients at the time,” Rish said.
However, Rish said patients are not as interested in getting vaccinated now.
“This is a disease that hasn’t gone away and that can cause serious damage. We are still seeing a lot of deaths around the country and hopefully people will realize the vaccine is still important,” Rish said.
Rish said at their three clinics, they are having 10 COVID-19 cases per week. He hopes now with this new vaccine, they can do more outreach to the Hispanic community about the dangers of COVID-19.
“It is a concern if people don’t fear the disease or think they are invulnerable or perhaps they have had vaccines in the past they may feel like they don’t need them,” Rish said.
The CDC is recommending the shot for anyone 6 months or older.
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