Non-profit vaccinates underserved Phoenix community, fights hesitancy amid J&J vaccine pause

AZFamily 4/17/21

Equality Health Foundation and Herozona Foundation held a vaccination event Saturday at Sunnyslope Senior Center. The organizations are working to protect underserved communities hit hard by the pandemic. The event was nearly canceled after the Center for Disease Control put a pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, but organizers were able to get 1,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

“We had a lot of momentum coming into this event. There was hope on the horizon,” said Tomás León, president of Equality Health Foundation.

While some were eager to get vaccinated finally, León said they are still fighting vaccine hesitancy in the community. Six people out of nearly 7 million got rare blood clots after getting the J&J single dose shot. León said the news is deterring some people from getting protected.

“So when you are working in diverse communities that have been really devastated by this pandemic and already have hesitancy about getting the vaccine for a lot of reasons, this doesn’t help,” said León. “We have to redouble our effort to educate the community that vaccines are safe.”

León said there were more no-shows, and they didn’t fill all appointments at Saturday’s event. Now, it is an all-out effort to reassure the community that vaccines are effective and safe.

“They are our best shot at getting back to normal, visit grandma, grandpa, and family,” said León.

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