PHOENIX — Francisco and Ramona Sanchez showed up at Saturday’s COVID-19 testing event held at Reposo Park in south Phoenix to be tested for the virus, being that they are both essential workers.
In Spanish, they told ABC15 they showed up to get tested because they wanted to feel safe they aren’t carrying the virus. The couple drove away with more than just a COVID-19 test; they were handed a box of food and information on the COVID-19 vaccine, for whenever they are eligible to take it.
“We need to break down some of the barriers that exist within the Black and Latino communities in regards to the vaccine,” says Tomas Leon of Equality Health Foundation.
He says Saturday’s event at Reposo Park is a sort of test run for what is to come in a few weeks.
“We do expect that the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is what we will be able to distribute at micropods,” he added.
“So you have these large sites (referring to State Farm Stadium) that are very important but they are far away from the communities that have been hit the hardest. We have to take a ‘meet me where I am’ approach in order to have a fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine,” he added.
For the Sachez family, the easy access, just a few miles from their home and the information provided to them on Saturday is giving them much-needed assurance on what they need to do when it’s their turn in line.
“I’m exposed pretty much every day,” says Ramona when we asked about her reason to want to be vaccinated.
“Our goal as a country is to reach community-wide immunity. So we are trying to get 75 to 80 percent vaccinated. In order to get there we have to do three things: COVID testing, continue with prevention and then participate in the vaccine program, “ added Leon.
Saturday’s event was put together with Arizona State University, and yielded roughly 200 COVID-19 tests. More events like it are expected in the next few weeks.