Jun 21, 2021 - Health

CDC launches Spanish WhatsApp chat to boost Latino COVID vaccinations

Photo of a masked person getting their vaccine shot in their right arm outside in an open area
Photo: Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images

WhatsApp and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have partnered to deliver information on the coronavirus vaccine to Spanish-speaking users, the social media platform announced Monday.

Why it matters: 36% of Latinos have had at least one vaccine dose compared to 45% of white people as of June 14, per the Kaiser Family Foundation. Reaching the Latino community on WhatsApp, which hosts a huge immigrant user base, could help counter misinformation and mistrust, NBC News reports.

Details: The Department of Health and Human Services is collaborating with Facebook, WhatsApp's parent company, as part of the Biden administration's goal to get 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4.

  • The chat, called "Mi Chat Sobre Vacunas COVID," is live and can be accessed through a link or QR code, according to NBC News. Once the user replies with "hola," the app returns a menu of options, including information about nearby vaccination sites, transportation to and from the location and answers to frequently asked questions.

The big picture: Racial disparities continue to impact vaccinations for Black and Latino communities, per KFF.

  • "Black and Hispanic people have received smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and compared to their shares of the total population in most states," KFF reported last week.
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