Multilingual vaccination vans hit 26 Lower East Side NYCHA developments

Monica Makes It Happen

FILE – A doctor loads a dose of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021, at a mobile vaccination clinic in Worcester, Mass. In January 2022, an influential government advisory panel is considering COVID-19 boosters for younger teens, as the U.S. battles the omicron surge and schools struggle with how to restart classes amid the spike. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)

LOWER EAST SIDE, Manhattan — Those looking to get vaccinated now have another option: on-the-go, multilingual vans deployed on the Lower East Side.

The goal of the vans is to reach more people in underserved communities. Volunteers and medical professionals working the vans speak several languages, including Spanish and Chinese, to comfort patients and clarify crucial information about COVID-19.

“It’s important to speak in their language. There is an issue of trust. They trust us to be vaccinated. They consider us ‘la familia'” Dr. Pia Scarfo said.

Scarfo works with Vision Urbana, the organization helping to coordinate the effort. 

The executive director of Vision Urbana, Eric Diaz, said the vans are helping reach 26 NYCHA developments and will be on the road until March.

“People feel like they are back in their home country … we are family when you speak to them in their home language,” Diaz said.

Diaz said the multilingual vaccination vans are a collaboration with the Hispanic Federation, as well as both the New York City and state departments of health. The goal is to hit zip codes with the least available vaccine sites, especially in NYCHA neighborhoods with the lowest vaccination rates. 

No appointments are necessary for the pop-up locations.

Vision Urbana’s hotline can be reached at 646-200-2979, or online.

City residents are encouraged to call 212-COVID19 or visit nyc.gov/vaccinefinder.

Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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