“The misinformation about the vaccine. That’s our challenge. Try to build trust,” Guerrier said. That’s why their covid response team moved into their new headquarters last Friday and brought together 24 people like Guerrier who are capable of speaking English, Spanish, Haitian-Creole, Portuguese, and more. The team’s efforts start with door-to-door canvassing. Since the start of the pandemic, they’ve reached out to at least 4,000 families.
Immokalee is made up of nearly 70% percent Hispanic residents and 20% black. Julie Pedretti, Vice President of External Affairs with the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida calls Immokalee an underserved community. His drive to help his community stems from the data.
“There are lots of myths and concerns among many populations. But the Hispanic community has been probably the most challenging to reach out,” Pedretti said. “It’s not one problem for one person. It’s a community,” said Odilest Guerrier with the Healthcare Network of Southwest Florida’s COVID Response Team.
Plus, vaccine events. So far they’ve helped vaccinate over 10,000 people The Healthcare Network said their services will soon expand to Golden Gate City and East Naples. “We’ve done about 8,000 tests. Most of them are in the Immokalee neighborhoods in our mobile unit,” Pedretti said.
With help from the Collier County DOH and the Guadalupe Center, the Healthcare Network is hosting pop-up testing sites. “It’s just a joyful experience to see that we’re making a difference in the community,” said Junia Monpremier, Licensed Nurse on the Healthcare Network’s COVID response team.
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