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Fútbol, Flags and Fun: Getting Creative to Reach Unvaccinated Latinos in Colorado

Colorado : Horns blared and drums pounded a constant beat as fans of the Mexican national soccer team gathered recently at Empower Field at Mile High in Denver for a high-profile international tournament.

But the sounds were muted inside a mobile medical RV parked near the stadium, and the tone was professional. During halftime of Mexico’s game against the U.S., soccer fan Oscar Felipe Sanchez rolled up his sleeve to receive the one-dose covid-19 vaccine.

Sanchez is a house painter in Colorado Springs. After getting sick with covid a few months ago, he thought he should get the vaccine. But because of the illness, he was advised to wait a few weeks before getting the shot. Asked if he’s glad he got it, Sanchez answered through a translator: “Yes! He’s more trusting to go out.”

Bringing the mobile vaccine program to an international soccer match was the latest effort by the state of Colorado and its local partners to meet unvaccinated residents wherever they are, rather than ask them to find the vaccine themselves.

Long gone are the days in early spring when vaccine appointments were snatched up the instant they became available, and health care workers worried about making sure patients were eligible under state and federal criteria for age and health status.

Colorado, and most of the nation, has now moved into a new phase involving targeted efforts and individual interactions and using trusted community influencers to persuade the hesitant to get jabbed.