SAN ANTONIO – COVID-19 hits close to home for District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia after losing several loved ones to the disease, so she’s making sure her constituents, including those who speak Spanish, are informed about the vaccine during the pandemic.
Districts 4 and 5 have had the highest COVID-19 infection rates in Bexar County throughout the pandemic.
In the city’s latest report (see below), which includes cases up to Nov. 30, there were nearly 8,000 COVID-19 cases reported in District 4, excluding jails and long-term care facilities.
“We know that our folks have underlying health conditions that have contributed to the to that death rate, unfortunately. And so it is critical that we do not leave these folks behind,” Rocha Garcia said.
Many people who live in District 4 only speak Spanish, so Rocha Garcia is making sure the Spanish speaking community is informed by leaning on the local media outlets.
“We reached out to one of our Spanish stations and held a vaccine information session with them,” Rocha Garcia said.
Lack of transportation is another challenge with which District 4 residents are faced. Rocha Garcia and her team are scouting different locations for possible vaccine distribution sites when the supply becomes available.
“We know that a lot of folks can’t drive very far or take the bus, and so we have to make sure that our locations are accessible through bus routes and that we give people plenty of notice so that they can plan on getting there if they do have to take the bus,” Rocha Garcia said.
Beyond the transportation and language hurdles, there’s also a technology barrier. Rocha Garcia said many people don’t have access to internet in her district.
“So trying to put together a website where you can find all of the information in one location is going to be critical, right? That’s for the folks that have access. However, it will be critical to also have a phone line, a phone line that we communicate to others who might not have technology access to be able to call in and possibly register eventually,” she said.
Metro Health officials are working on a distribution plan and say they will be putting up a website with information on how to find the vaccine throughout the area when the supply becomes available.