USF Health experts to address COVID-19 vaccine questions among the Spanish-speaking population

Posted at 5:03 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 18:32:44-05

TAMPA, Fla. — Reaching herd immunity requires vaccinating people in all communities, and part of that is making sure people feel comfortable getting the vaccine in the first place.

In an effort to stop misinformation, Spanish-speaking faculty members in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida are placing a focus on Hispanic communities and making sure they get their questions answered.

“We have the mission to communicate to our people,” said Dr. Ricardo Izurieta, Professor, and Director of Global Communicable Diseases at USF.

Dr. Izurieta is a member of the Spanish-speaking community himself, and he understands the importance of messaging from people you trust.

“Hispanic and Latino communities may listen better or will trust a scientist, a professional, a physician, or myself, having worked in this area, and that also is a Latino,” said Dr. Izurieta.

Battling a virus that disproportionately affects members of the Latino population, six Spanish-speaking USF faculty members are working to weed out misinformation and answer your questions.

“Listen to the people who know about this and who can give evidences, and we are ready to give any evidence to our people,” said Dr. Izurieta.

They’re doing it through Zoom panels and Facebook lives, set to kick off next week, and they’re asking members of the Spanish-speaking populations in Tampa Bay, and across the nation, to come with questions.


“As the vaccines are being rolled out here in Florida and across the United States, we want to really emphasize both their safety and efficacy and sort of alleviate some of those tensions and fears that people are experiencing because of that,” said Erik Ruiz, a PhD student at USF’s College of Public Health.

After all, it’s going to take effort from all sides to fight the virus and achieve herd immunity.

“Our financial situation of our United States country, of Latin America, of the work, the financial situation of our families, our Latino-Hispanic families depends on the health of each one of us,” said Dr. Izurieta.

The first panel is set for this upcoming Tuesday, March 16, at 6:30 p.m. The panel will be completely in Spanish, and there will be Spanish subtitles.

If you have questions you’d like to submit ahead of time, you’ll need to pre-register at the Zoom link by clicking here.

You can also watch the panel via Facebook Live by clicking here.

This is a free panel, focusing directly on addressing the concerns of the Spanish-speaking community, when it comes to the vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic in general.