Ensuring frontline migrant and seasonal agricultural workers receive the vaccine from a trusted source who understands this community’s cultural, linguistic, and logistical challenges is a priority at Clinicas del Camino Real, Inc. Clinicas del Camino Real, Inc. serves 52,000 agricultural worker families at its 15 health centers in Ventura County, California.
Since the health center began its vaccination efforts in March, 12,404 people have been vaccinated including approximately 3,896 agricultural workers. Its COVID-19 vaccination outreach efforts are informed by the health center’s deep understanding of several key logistical challenges the agricultural worker community experiences, including lack of transportation and limited Internet access, as well as some unique cultural beliefs, and experiences, such as:
• A highly transient, primarily Mexican, very low-income population
• For many, the COVID-19 vaccine will be their first shot
• Many misconceptions exist such as the belief that the vaccination process is a government ploy to track them down and deport them and COVID-19 is similar to the flu
• Very tight-knit community in which word-of-mouth communication is influential
The outreach team utilizes a multichannel marketing approach to build vaccine confidence and promote vaccination events including:
• Airing ads on and participating in local Spanish radio and TV stations
• Using an automated text messaging system to communicate with patients
• Utilizing Facebook so the migrant community can easily stay connected when on the move
Creating Welcoming, Trusted Vaccination Clinic Sites
Clinicas del Camino Real, Inc. makes the vaccination process as easy and effortless as possible according to Anna Monroy, Chief Operations Officer:
“One negative experience can rapidly spread misinformation and create greater vaccine hesitation among the larger community that will be very hard to undo. We must get our outreach and vaccination events right every time.”
The health center partners with neighborhood schools to hold vaccination clinics that are easily accessible without transportation and are open in the evenings when needed. Walk-ins are always welcome as many people cannot, or do not want to, register in advance, or they hear about the experience from a neighbor or family member and walk in to learn more.
The Second Dose Challenge
As the crops are harvested, migrant agricultural workers leave Ventura County looking for their next farming opportunity. “Many will leave without receiving their second vaccine dose,” explains Monroy. “However, we make sure everyone who receives their first vaccine from Clinicas del Camino Real, Inc. is given vaccination cards and information on how to find where the vaccine is available in California, and where they can go to get their second vaccine dose in the next community that they find work.” In addition, Clinicas del Camino Real, Inc. shares their vaccine administration information on the California Immunization Registry to ensure other health centers and providers can access it.
Photo courtesy of Clinicas del Camino Real, Inc.