Hispanic community shows more interest in COVID-19 vaccine

COVID-19 Vaccine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As COVID-19 eligibility continues to expand, there’s still a big push to get people on board. 

Gladys Pico-Gleason, a registered nurse at Spectrum Health, has been working throughout the pandemic to inform the public about the virus. More recently, she’s been talking to people about vaccines.

She says Hispanic people she interacts with, especially those age 65 and older, are showing great interest in getting vaccinated. 

“They have suffered economic strain, have had so many people in families get sick and die,” Pico-Gleason said. “There’s a motivation because certain populations have seen the heavy toll (the virus is) taking.”

Spectrum Health has put on COVID-19 panels to reach out to the Hispanic community. Pico-Gleason says close relationships with the patients she interacts with have been crucial in dialogue about vaccines. 

“They trust me and other community workers for a few years, they’ve really trusted us,” Pico-Gleason said.

Spectrum’s encouraging those looking to register to download the Spectrum Health app. Spectrum will then notify them when it’s time to make an appointment. Even those who aren’t yet eligible to be vaccinated can register with Spectrum and will be notified when it’s their turn.

If you are eligible for a vaccine and unable to complete your registration online, call Spectrum Health at 833.755.0696 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. seven days a week.


Trust is also a big factor at the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan. The center has worked to inform its clients about COVID-19 throughout the pandemic. 

“They trust the Hispanic Center,” said Claudia Pohlen, the center’s communication manager. “They know a lot of the faces here at the center; that’s something we bring to the table.”

People visit the center for a variety of reasons. Pohlen says vaccines and how to get them is a major topic among visitors. 

“More people than not that we asked are willing to take the vaccine once it’s available to them,” Pohlen said. 

The center is partnering with the Kent County Health Department to host a vaccine clinic for people ages 65 and older on March 10. Up to 70 people can sign up. 

“Right now, my time is concentrated toward that effort and making sure we have 70 people,” Pohlen said.

To set up an appointment for the clinic through the Hispanic Center, you can text 616.206.3150.

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