Cities of Doraville, Dunwoody and nonprofits team up to vaccinate non-English speakers

The cities of Doraville and Dunwoody are teaming up with organizations to help get vaccines to those who are non-English speakers. 

"We call it every arm deserves a shot and we truly mean it," said Lily Pabian, the Executive Director of a group called We Love Buford Highway.

This group, along with the Latino Community Fund of Georgia, is working alongside the cities to help members of the immigrant population get shots in their arms. 

 "In a time where you really rely on accurate information, education, and awareness, language is a big piece of it. I think we take that for granted. We assume everyone speaks English," Pabien said. "Even if you speak some English, it just takes those couple words to give you that sense of engagement and comfort."   

According to data from the Georgia Department of Public Health, about 223,000 people who identify as Asian have received at least one dose of the vaccine. About 178,000 people who identify as Hispanic have received at least one shot. About 1.9 million people who identify as White have received the shot. 

 "We're at a place where 50 percent of people in the United States have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine. The next 50 percent is going to the group that's much harder to reach," said  Doraville Mayor Joseph Geierman. 

Members We Love Buford Highway spent Wednesday canvassing neighborhoods with large immigrant populations, passing out flyers that are translated into several different languages to promote the upcoming events. 

"Things are translated into Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Bengali and Punjabi," Pabian said. 

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She said she was encouraged to hear how excited people were to hear about the events. 

Translators will be at the events to help as well. 

"The translators are really there to ease people's anxieties, tensions, answer any questions but also to check in with them," Pabian said. 

Geierman hopes outreach and events like this will help ease any concerns within the immigrant community. 

"People may find it hard, for whatever reason, to navigate the state website or other systems, or just find it intimidating with some of the documentation that is sometimes asked for at the vaccination sites," Geierman said. 

The first event in Doraville will be held Saturday, April 24 at 3760 Park Avenue. 

Appointments are available but those without one will be able to receive help. 

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