For months, Maria Cristina was hesitant about getting a COVID-19 vaccine. Her fears came from social media, where she heard ample amounts of misinformation about what was in the vaccine and what it could do to her.
The 35-year-old Guatemalan immigrant was confused until the day she called the local Latino Community Center in Pittsburgh to ask how she could better protect herself and her four kids, one of whom has cancer. A staffer there encouraged her to get vaccinated and shared with her a story about how COVID-19 affected one family: everyone in the family got the virus, they told her, except for one person — the one who was vaccinated. Cristina says that story helped her decide to take the shot.
“It’s the best decision to make to protect your family,” she said.
Philanthropies hope to replicate stories like Cristina’s by pouring millions into programs aiming to persuade vaccine-hesitant Americans to get the shots. Most new infections of the virus are among unvaccinated Americans — nearly 23% of all U.S. adults. They’ve refused to budge, despite pleas from officials and offers of lottery prizes and other gifts.
The center that helped Cristina make her decision is one of the more than 150 community-based organizations funded by the CDC Foundation, a charity created by Congress in 1992 to help the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advance its mission. Since June, it has pushed $32.7 million into local organizations in 38 states to promote the shots.
Read the full article about vaccine misinformation by Haleluya Hadero at Associated Press.
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