Tacos, free books and COVID vaccinations this past weekend

·3 min read

Aug. 11—ELKHART — The Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition, in partnership with the Indiana Department of Health, Elkhart County Health Department, Heart City Health Center, and La Raza Radio, ran a successful COVID-19 vaccination and testing drive-thru clinic Saturday, in the parking lot of NIHHC's Elkhart office location.

The clinic offered Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, COVID-19 testing, and COVID-19 health consultations with bilingual health professionals to respond to all questions regarding COVID-19, a news release stated. Staff, community health workers, and volunteers from IDOH, ECHD, Heart City Health, and NIHHC provided 114 vaccines and 8 tests to the community in four hours. 21 first doses, 2 second doses, and 91 boosters were administered, including 26 pediatric doses.

NIHHC staff distributed hand sanitizers, N95 masks, and 100 COVID-19 home testing kits, responding to the lack of rapid tests available in the area. 88% of attendees were Hispanic.

NIHHC worked to coordinate the event and overcome barriers, engaging in culturally competent outreach with community members to ensure families are protected and ready for the back-to-school fall season.

As part of an effort to address transportation needs, NIHHC provided a $20 gas gift card to all attendees who had an appointment and received the vaccine.

"We want to thank each person for doing their part and getting their vaccine today," said NIHHC Executive Director Liliana Quintero in the release. Attendees were encouraged to use the gas gift card to return for their next dose and follow their vaccination schedule.

"I am here for my health and for the health of others," said one attendee. "I trust the events organized by NIHHC. Please continue with these events and keep doing more vaccines."

NIHHC also offered free tacos to all attendees and partnered with the Elkhart Public Library to provide free new books for children. Over 280 free tacos were provided, and 36 children ages 2-15 received an average of three books each.

"Thank you for everything," said another attendee. "Everybody did an excellent job, working hard even though it is super hot outside."

The highly contagious BA.5 Omicron subvariant is quickly spreading, causing COVID-19 levels to rise in northern Indiana, the release added. Health experts stress that the best way to protect ourselves from getting very sick and to prevent spread is to get vaccinated and stay up to date.

NIHHC offers consistent vaccination and testing opportunities and remains committed to meeting the needs of the community to fight COVID-19. The next clinic is September 10, from 1 to 5 p.m., in the parking lot of NIHHC's Elkhart office at 444 N. Nappanee St.

With support from the CDC Foundation, the Indiana Department of Health, and REAL Services, NIHHC's COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Unite Against COVID-19, reaches the community by partnering with trusted influencers and messengers, leaders, health care providers, and community organizations and agencies.

The Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition's mission is to provide preventative health care programs to the communities of Elkhart, Kosciusko, Noble, and Marshall counties through education, advocacy, physician referral, and research, so that they may lead healthier lifestyles.

For more information on NIHHC's activities and programs call NIHHC at 574-522-0966 or toll free at 1-877-21-SALUD, or visit www.nihhc.com.