More than one hundred and ten thousand persons have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Close to forty-one thousand persons have been fully vaccinated. Different groups in society have taken a stand on the vaccine and today we asked UNIBAM Executive Director Caleb Orozco what is the position of the LGBT community.
Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM: “We are working with or engaging with our colleagues who do LGBT work to organize people to access the vaccine and in fact on July 22nd we’re hoping that people that we’ve identified will show up to get their vaccine doses and they will tell whoever else in our community about their experience because for us we’re concerned that our representation in the vaccine discussion does not exist. We’re also concerned that our people have been so busy trying to deal with food, clothing and shelter that they have not prioritized the preventive side of what the state is offering because they spend most of their lives distrusting state systems and the state systems have not deliberately or intentionally reached out to the population. So in that regard we’re hoping that July 22nd will be the day we that we expect representation, participation and our better understanding of how we can broaden the mobilization of LGBT people accessing the vaccine doses in a timely manner.”
According to Orozco, people living with HIV/AIDS have expressed concerns in taking the vaccine. Orozco says that the government has done a poor job in addressing these type of concerns.
Reporter: What about people living with HIV ? Have they expressed concern about side effects in getting the vaccine because of their status ?
Caleb Orozco, Executive Director, UNIBAM: “Depending on who you are persons living with HIV have gotten their vaccine doses and have been fine. I’ve personally dealt with five persons who have done that. The basic complaint was the soreness at the injection site but there was nothing else. Outside of that it’s clear that persons who have not accessed factual information, persons who do not have a high literacy levels are affected by the ability to trust that the vaccine will do what it does and so this speaks to a more targeted response by the state with regards to how they’re engaging persons with disability, persons who are HIV positive and sharing the information with regards to the benefits of the vaccine. I don’t think the state has even considered addressing the issue of targeted education of the population and as a result it’s blanket one size fits all approach has left some gaps and I’m hoping that the state essentially the Ministry of Health would address these gaps in the way it establishes its next steps.”