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Promotoras going door-to-door in Latino neighborhoods amid COVID surge

Promotoras, basic health educators tasked with spreading the word about vaccines and testing amid the pandemic, are hitting the streets again.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Armed with masks, a clipboard, and a rolling backpack with supplies to give away, Promotoras are back on the streets going to some of San Diego's most diverse neighborhoods to spread the word about vaccine clinics nearby.

"I definitely do this for our community, especially for our immigrant and also for our refugees," said Miriam Rodriguez, Director of Promotoras for the San Diego Latino Health Coalition. "We still get questions if there's a cost, if it's going to affect them in the future for any type of immigration status."

Rodriguez leads a group of volunteers who've become experts in the basics of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. 

Their job is to go door-to-door in neighborhoods that may have less access or don't speak much English, to let them know of resources available to them.

"We are here to let them know it's absolutely free, it's their right to take it," Rodriguez said.

Since the start, worries and misinformation over immigration, fertility, and more, plus brand-name recognition kept Latinos at bay from the vaccine.

But, efforts passing out information pamphlets and consent forms seem to be paying off. 

Data shows 68% of Latinos in the county are fully vaccinated, the second-highest of all behind Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islanders.

However, just under 20% of Latinos are boosted, coming second to 46.5% of white people in San Diego County.

Rodriguez said that's part of why they're out in communities, and she said the response is good.

"Really, the response is positive," she said. "The response is, 'even if I don't need this information, I already have my vaccination, let me give it to someone else.'"

UC San Diego has partnered with San Diego Unified Schools to offer mobile vaccine clinics on several campuses around San Diego. 

They're open to staff, students with a parent or a signed consent form if under 18, and to the community. They will run through January 21, 2022.

WATCH RELATED: SDSU & CSU COVID-19 booster mandate in effect for students (January 2022)

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