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Research & Articles

Programs' Best Practices

Learn about what programs in New Mexico are doing to achieve vaccine equity through our Program Spotlight interviews. 

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Amador Health Center in Las Cruces, NM

Interview with Eva Videla, Resource Development Coordinator 

September 30th, 2021

Tell us about your organization and mission.


Amador Health Center is an FQHC in Las Cruces, NM. In addition to primary care and behavioral health care, we have one of the most comprehensive recovery programs in southern NM--includes harm reduction, peer navigation, and an in-house pharmacy. We serve many homeless folks who live in a nearby camp, and we have a soup kitchen and a daycare center as well.


What has been your approach to vaccine equity?


We started early in the pandemic with testing for COVID-19 in congregate settings, like domestic violence and other shelters here, and in our daycare, as a way of protecting our community. Many of our members had a hard time protecting themselves from COVID-19 because they were homeless or displaced, so we distributed masks and hand sanitizer.


Agricultural workers are one of our target populations, so in Fall 2020 we started going to apartment complexes where many of them live in order to test for COVID-19 and pass out PPE.


Because we are deeply connected to all of these communities and spaces, it was easy to give information about vaccines and set up events once the vaccines became available.

Many of our homeless members don’t have IDs, address, or phone, and they don’t feel comfortable at many pharmacies or at the big vaccine events--they don’t feel welcome. So we had vaccine events here at the camp and the soup kitchen.


To do vaccine outreach to agricultural workers, many of them are Spanish-speaking immigrants and were receiving a lot of misinformation about the vaccine in WhatsApp. It was really important for us to share correct information with them in their language. The flipcharts that NMDOH developed were really helpful in countering misinformation with this group. And bilingual medical providers are a very trusted information source for countering misinformation.


How can we make sure that vaccine inequities aren’t worsened as we roll out booster shots?


We should roll out the incentives early on--lots of people were frustrated that they got vaccinated too early to receive the $100. It’s also very important to give people information and data about how the vaccine reduces risk for COVID-19 hospitalizations. On TikTok, we’re seeing ‘you can still get COVID even with the vaccine,’ but that doesn’t take into account the difference in hospitalizations for people who’ve gotten vaccinated.

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Chainbreaker Collective
Santa Fe, NM

Interview with Tomás Rivera, Executive Director

October 20th, 2021

Tell us about your organization and mission.


Chainbreaker is a membership-led economic and environmental justice organization--we build power and do community organizing in Santa Fe in communities of color. 


During the pandemic, we’ve been organizing people at risk of eviction w/ the upcoming eviction tsunami when the moratorium runs out; all through a racial justice & social justice lens. 


What has been your approach to vaccine equity?


As we're knocking on doors asking about evictions and rent issues, many people asked about vaccines. There is a dominant narrative that folks in our community were vaccine hesitant and believed in microchips in the vaccines, but that’s not what we found in our community. For us, it was a lack of information about and access to the vaccine--not conspiracy level stuff. People were saying, I work, I can't take a day off, it's across town, I can't go to these events, they're drive-through and I don't have a car. We said, we have an opportunity, we're positioned really well to be the bridge between the folks distributing vaccines and communities of color most impacted by COVID-19.


Other barriers for our community included language barriers, not having a smartphone or computer to sign up for the events.


So we built partnerships with NMDOH, City of SF, and La Familia Medical Center to bring vaccines to folks where they can get it. We held four events at the southside library near our communities, and got 1,000 shots in arms--most of these were for people who would’ve had a harder time getting shots through the usual events and routes.


How can we make sure that vaccine inequities aren’t worsened as we roll out boosters/third doses?


I think partnering with groups like Chainbreaker who really understand the landscape and have built up relationships and trust over time within communities would help. I understand the need for big events but I don’t think that’s going to get to the population most impacted by COVID-19--we need to go to people in their language, on their own terms. Those events at the library were well-attended and targeted mobile home parks and apartments, and the library site was walkable. Moving forward, we want to do micro-events and meet people where they are. We also gave out 50 bicycles at these events to increase participation and build community capacity.

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