In a new story from The Daily Yonder, CHWs and a social media campaign are working on getting the small town of Guadalupe, Arizona completely vaccinated against COVID-19. By the summer of 2020, the town’s infection rate was almost five times higher than the rest of Maricopa County.

As the pandemic continued, and residents worried about getting tested or vaccinated, Promotoras, CHWs who can go door-to-door, stepped in to get the ball rolling.

From the story: “Promotoras – community health workers who go home-to-home – helped ease that anxiety. They delivered food and personal protection equipment and spoke one-on-one to residents about the virus.

Among those promotoras are Veronica Perez, who has lived in Guadalupe all her life, and Graciela Holgiun, who lives in Chandler but has friends and relatives in Guadalupe.

“I’ve worked in the medical field for many years,” Holguin said, “so I thought it’d be something positive to help out people that needed it at the moment.”

They both saw what was happening on the streets during the worst of it.

“By July (2020), it started hitting a little bit home,” Perez said. “We would have at least one or two deaths per week. I think that’s when people started to realize that maybe something is really happening here.”

They spent a year and a half hand-delivering all sorts of goods to homes where families were stuck in quarantine. But the initial stigma of the virus limited the number of people they could help.

“A lot of people were hesitant to call and to let us know” if someone fell ill, Holgiun said. “So it was unfortunate because there are a lot of community members we weren’t able to help and assist because of that.”

With the help of the promotoras, and the local Yaqui tribe’s social media page debunking misinformation, 44% of people living in Guadalupe have had at least one vaccine dose. 38% are fully vaccinated as of Dec. 2021.

To read the rest of the story, click here.