OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – As COVID-19 cases rise once again, health experts are also pushing for more Oklahomans to get vaccinated, especially in minority communities.
“When you look at people who are ending up in the hospital and people who are dying of COVID-19, by far they are people who are not vaccinated,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler.
Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Health’s Chief COVID Officer, says minority communities are more at risk of infection, as well as poor outcomes.
“Disadvantaged populations, Hispanics and African Americans have had disproportionate complications and risks with COVID-19,” said Dr. Bratzler.
Dr. Bratzler spends time every week volunteering at a free clinic, where he works with disadvantaged populations. The clinic he works with is part of the Health Alliance for the Uninsured network.
Patty Khatib is a former employee of the Oklahoma City-County Health Department, where she worked as a COVID-19 tracker. She now works for HAU as a Navigator. Every day, she advocates for Oklahomans to find quality, free healthcare.
“I was able to really, really get a vivid, inside look to see the struggles Latinos were going through,” said Khatib.
She says talking to the Latino community about getting vaccinated is easier than many might think. She says taking the time to listen as well as show compassion is key.
“Listening is vital. We’re not doctors, we’re not preachers we want to know, what are your questions, what are your fears?”
The main questions she gets are ‘Is it safe?’ and ‘Where can I get one?’ She says she knows she can answer these questions, but the community needs more advocates to reach more people.
“I know I can put a dent in that hesitation….There are a lot of individuals that we need to reach that you need to get this vaccine because this is getting worse. It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse,” said Khatib.