At community COVID-19 clinics, trust makes the difference

WEST VALLEY CITY —  “I love the work that you all are doing,” said Utah Lieutenant Governor Deidre Henderson at a community vaccination clinic on Nov. 19.

Henderson thanked the partners who organized the series of pop-up clinics at Rancho Markets across the Wasatch Front, praising their efforts to shrink the health gaps among the Latino and multicultural communities particularly hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. She also thanked the parents who brought their children to the clinic, with vaccinations newly available for 5- to 11-year-olds.

“This is the most important work that we really can be doing right now.”

Utah lieutenant governor Deidre Henderson at a community COVID-19 CLINIC

Rush-hour drivers on Redwood Road honked and waved as they passed the clinic’s flag-lined white tents, illuminated by the lights of TV cameras focused on Henderson. Lines of people, including some families with a handful of young children in tow, turned out on a brisk fall evening. About 70 shots were delivered in three hours, health workers estimated, reflecting the average number of doses distributed at earlier pop-up community clinics.

The clinic was the latest of nearly two dozen for Utah’s Latino residents, part of an on-going partnership with Rancho Markets, the Utah Division of Multicultural Affairs, the Salt Lake County Health Department, and the Utah Department of Health. More than 1,000 people have received vaccinations at the clinics, said Cristina Diaz De Leon, lauded at the event for her tireless work as an organizer during the pandemic.

That the clinic took place in a convenient parking lot matters, said Yolanda Rodriguez, a community health worker noted for her ability to overcome fears expressed by those waiting for shots.

With pop-up tents, a Rancho Market parking lot becomes a community COVID-19 vaccination clinic.

“This is a place where the community comes and we can talk to them.”

yolanda rodriquez, community health worker, of clinics at RANCHO MARKETS

Rodriguez expressed pride in those who have overcome mistrust and vaccination resistance, but noted that the ongoing efforts continue. “We have more work to do,” she said, a belief underscored by all of the event’s organizers.

Visit the Multicultural Affairs website for COVID-19 resources, and check this schedule of upcoming community clinics.