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Local health district taking community approach to sharing vaccine information

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 5:23 AM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - According to state data, the vaccination rate in McLennan County is 47 percent, and the health district is bringing in some new ways to share information about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Waco-McLennan County Public Health District recently launched the vaccine ambassador program. The health district said the goal is to create a more grass-roots approach to sharing information about the vaccine.

If people decided to become a vaccine ambassador, they will go through a training session about the different types of vaccines, statistics and common questions so they can share that information with members of their community.

The health district said people have plenty of questions about the vaccine, and may not have someone they feel comfortable going to. The ambassador program is another resource for them.

“We try and provide real answers, real scientific answers to the questions that most people ask,” Kelly Craine, spokesperson for the Waco-McLennan County Public Health District, said. “Will it cause infertility, the vaccine was rushed, I don’t really need a vaccine because I’m young and have never been sick.”

Israel Loachamin is a pastor at two local churches – La Puerta Waco and First Baptist Church Waco.

He said he was excited for the opportunity to join the vaccine ambassador program because it was important to him that his congregation had someone they trusted who could answer questions.

Loachamin said he probably speaks with someone once a week about the vaccine and any concerns.

La Puerta Waco has a call center, and Loachamin said he answers questions there, and they’ve also had several vaccine clinics. Loachamin said he wants people to feel comfortable getting the vaccine, and that can be hard to do in a hospital.

“I think last year, no one wanted to go to a hospital, and when you see the hospital and the setting, it kind of feels...it’s kind of depressed,” Loachamin said. “But when you go to a church, that’s a safe space, my friends go there, you feel more comfortable.”

If you’re interested in becoming a vaccine ambassador, you can find more information online, or email vaccinereps@wacotx.gov.

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