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05 March 2024

Voto Latino CEO on Getting Vaccinated Against COVID-19

By María Teresa Kumar, CEO, Voto Latino
Voto Latino Blog

While the pandemic is thankfully behind us, recent surges of COVID-19, the flu, and RSV serve as a critical reminder for the Latino community to stay up to date on our vaccines.

The good news is, for the first time in U.S. history, vaccines for all three are available. The bad news is that not enough people are getting them. Over the span of just one week there were almost 19,000 COVID related hospitalizations in early February, yet less than 15% of Latino adults have received their latest COVID-19 shots. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, the CDC Director Mandy Cohen even noted that of the three major viruses, COVID is still the one putting people in the hospitals most.

This reminder is particularly relevant for Latino Americans since we are almost twice as likely to test positive for COVID-19 as our white neighbors. That means we’re twice as likely to catch an illness that may prevent us from working, seeing our friends and family, and living our day to day lives. Getting sick is inconvenient at best, but it can still have long term impacts to our health at worst. For example, one in five adults in this country who had COVID experience symptoms of long COVID, and those that aren’t vaccinated are more likely to develop long COVID than those that are vaccinated.

While the Latino community was devastated by the pandemic, we responded quickly and effectively when initial vaccines became available. In fact, Latino Americans comprise more than 21% of those who are vaccinated with initial doses. So many of us mobilized to take control of our health, educate our loved ones, and keep our community safe.

Now we need to double down on our commitment by getting the updated COVID-19 vaccination and encouraging our families to do the same. Similar to the flu, it's convenient to schedule an appointment and available at no cost. Also similar to the annual flu shot, since vaccine or infection protection wanes over time, getting an updated COVID shot is important even if you’ve received one before – the latest vaccines are effective against the latest circulating XBB.1.5 variants.

Experts are not warning of a second pandemic, but no one wants to spend the early spring months sick at home, nor do we want to get our loved ones sick. Let’s prioritize our families and the precious time we get to spend with them by protecting our children, the elderly, and at-risk guests in these upcoming months. By getting the updated COVID-19 vaccine, we can help invest in the well-being of the Latino community and allow our community to flourish.

To find a COVID-19 vaccination site near you, visit