The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Monday (June 21) that they are teaming up with WhatsApp and its parent company Facebook to launch a Spanish-language chat to get more Latinos correct health information about the COVID-19 vaccine.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, only 36 percent of Latinos in the United States have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine since June 14 compared to the 45 percent of white non-Latino people.
The chat, which is already live, is titled “Mi chat sobre vacunas COVID” (“My chat about COVID vaccines”). It aims to “help Spanish-speaking communities get vaccinated against COVID-19,” according to a press release provided to NBC News.
The app function provides a catalogue of information to users, including nearby vaccination locations and transportation to and from vaccine sites. Most importantly, it offers a way to help stop the spread of Spanish-language propaganda and conspiracy theories, which leads to a disproportionate turnout rate while also fueling the historic mistrust in the medical field for these communities.
Some of the disinformation circulating since the COVID-19 vaccine has become available includes myths like getting inoculated giving you the coronavirus, that the vaccine will alter a person’s DNA, or that will make women infertile.
“A lot of people have misinformation,” Oscar Londoño, executive director of a nonprofit that serves immigrants, told National Public Radio in March. “They’re getting their information around the vaccine from social media, YouTube, WhatsApp groups, word-of-mouth. There’s myths circulating around the vaccine, whether you can trust it, the long-term effects. And so, part of the work that needs to be done is curing that misinformation.”
Ultimately, “Mi chat sobre vacunas COVID” is a language-inclusive win in getting Spanish-speaking Latinos the accurate information they need to make sound decisions about their health during the pandemic.