In the US, there are a lot of adults who simply do not wish to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and there are also a lot of adults who really, really don’t want their kids vaccinated.  

So, Guilford County government and the State of North Carolina are both attempting to put the “Get Vaccinated” message out to everyone – regardless of the language they speak.  On Tuesday evening, Nov. 16, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) held a Spanish-language livestream event emphasizing the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine for young children.

English speakers in Guilford County and North Carolina know very well about the ongoing campaign encouraging vaccinations – and local and state health officials also want to make sure that same message gets to non-English speakers.  Roughly 7 percent of North Carolina residents speak Spanish as a primary language, and this week state health officials were talking directly to that population about the importance of getting kids vaccinated.

To date, about 68 percent of the Hispanic population in North Carolina 12 years and older has been vaccinated with at least one dose – and 72.4 percent of the Hispanic population 18 years and older has been vaccinated with at least one dose.  Health officials want to see a lot of Hispanic youngsters vaccinated as well now that that’s an available option. The Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for children was recently authorized as safe and effective for kids ages 5 to 11.

On Tuesday, Nov. 16, the NCDHHS held an online discussion about the importance of COVID-19 vaccines for children under 12 via the department’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pages.  

Guilford County’s Department of Public Health helped get the word out about the Spanish-centric event on its social media sites.  Like the state, Guilford County government has been trying to make the availability of the vaccine for kids known to those who speak English as a second language.

The main topic of discussion on the livestream was the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccinations for kids.  Participants in the Nov. 16  “Tele-townhall” included Yazmin Garcia Rico, the director of Hispanic/Latinx Policy and Strategy at NCDHHS, Dr. Gabriela Maradiaga Panayotti, the associate professor of Pediatrics at the Duke University Medical Center, and Jenice Ramirez, the executive director of ISLA NC.  That non-profit teaches the Spanish language and Spanish culture in North Carolina.

Belén Gómez-Jordana – a reporter and anchor at Telemundo Charlotte –moderated the conversation. 

The livestream allowed people to submit questions about the vaccines and COVID-19.

State officials are also hoping the speakers of languages other than English and Spanish hear the message as well regarding kids and vaccinations.  North Carolinians who speak languages other than English or Spanish as a primary language are harder to target. Other languages – such as French, Chinese, German, etc. – are each spoken as a primary language by less than 1 percent of the state’s population.