MESA, Ariz. – As more and more Arizonans have become vaccinated against COVID-19, work is being done behind the scenes to get the shots out to underserved communities.
Hundreds lined up over the course of two days at the Arizona International Marketplace in Mesa. This vaccination drive offered Moderna shots is different than many others, focusing on the underserved Asian and Pacific Islander community.
“It’s not because vaccine appointments are not available, it’s that they don’t know how to start because they don’t understand the language,” said Sun Jones with the Arizona Korean Association.
The Arizona Korean Association’s event is specifically designed to offer 10 different languages, which can lead to more people vaccinated in our state while also helping dispel misinformation.
“Understanding how important that vaccine is in their own language and signing up and the registration process in the comfort of their own language — it’s very important, and we want to make sure they get the correct information about vaccines,” Jones said.
Jones, who organized the event, said they had security outside because of safety concerns amid growing violence against Asians in America.
The US Senate overwhelmingly passed an anti-Asian hate crimes bill.
Jones said the bill is important because the fear is real.
“Many businesses have been impacted by that, by Asian hate crimes and the fear,” said Jones. “So even having this kind of event some are very fearful. Some people did not want to come.”
The Moderna event, which distributed 500 shots, is the second they’ve held and plan for more soon.