The American Heart Association has launched a public awareness campaign to drive COVID-19 vaccinations in the Hispanic community.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, the research and education nonprofit is livestreaming a free, YouTube Premiere Stay Fuerte COVID-19 Panel. The program, in Spanish with English subtitles, is set for next Wednesday at 1 p.m. EST, in partnership with Catholic Charities U.S.A, the Mexican Consulate, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses and Hola Doctor. 

“Online is what’s kind of creating this wildfire effect of this misinformation,” said AHA LatinX communications manager Elizabeth Nickerson. “We thought that combating it online, in a virtual setting would be the best bet.” 

Hispanics are almost 2.3 times more likely to die from COVID-19, compared to white individuals and non-Hispanics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accounting for this disproportionate impact, Nickerson stated, “There’s a prevalence of misinformation that Hispanics are receiving on different social media platforms. So our main focus is to reach this audience, so they can make an informed decision about something that’s really adversely affecting this community.”

The campaign focuses on providing information in a culturally appropriate way to the Latino community in Spanish.

The AHA noted that studies show Latino, Black and Native American people and those living in rural areas experience higher rates of COVID-19 and more severe complications, the nonprofit said in a statement. Those living in less affluent communities are more likely to face higher risks as essential workers with less ability to social distance and with less access to healthcare. The nonprofit also stressed that COVID-19 vaccine misinformation continues to be widespread in Hispanic communities.

“We want to bust down those myths, and hone in on how the higher rates of COVID-19 have affected their communities,” said Nickerson. The campaign will emphasize the vaccines are safe and effective. ”We want to correct misconceptions about dangers of the vaccine.” 

For example, speakers will assure the audience that the vaccines do not pose dangers to pregnant women or fetuses.

The Spanish-language television broadcasting company Telemundo will share information on where Spanish-speaking communities can receive free vaccinations.

Following the live-streamed event, the AHA has made a year-long commitment to continue to release vaccination information.

Other groups such as the Hispanic Federation, Better Together REACH and Salud America!, are also working to reduce the disproportionate harm of the coronavirus on Hispanic communities in the United States.


This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.