Pop-up clinic serves Lehigh Valley’s Hispanic community

Written by on February 22, 2021

Pop-up clinic serves Lehigh Valley’s Hispanic community

By Genesis Ortega

February 22, 2021

Maritza Muniz, a St. Luke’s University Health Network nursing student, giving a vaccine shot to a resident. Photo| Genesis Ortega / WLVR

Hispanic people are hospitalized for COVID-19 at about three times the rate of white, non-Hispanic people according to the Centers for Disease Control. In an effort to boost access to the vaccine for this community, one Lehigh Valley organization teamed up with a local health network to offer a pop-up vaccine clinic.

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The Fowler Community Wellness Center, a part of the Hispanic Center of Lehigh Valley, is in South Bethlehem. 

That’s where Maritza Muniz, a St. Luke’s University Health Network nursing student, was giving out vaccine shots. She says she jumped at the chance to volunteer. 

Photo| Genesis Ortega / WLVR

“It was totally an honor for me since I grew up in Puerto Rico in a really poor section, which we have clinics like that too,” Muniz says.

And Nylsa Cruz is a senior from Allentown who heard about the vaccine clinic on the radio. She says at first she felt nervous about possible side effects  but once at the clinic, she felt comfortable. 

“I’m glad I’m in a setting where I’m around my Hispanic people and that they have the opportunity to also get vaccinated,” Cruz says.

Nursing student Muniz gave Cruz her shot.

“People are really excited. It’s very, very good to hear how appreciative they are. Like very excited. Like I see their faces, their smiles and how appreciative they are. It just makes the day so brighter,” Muniz says.

Photo| Genesis Ortega / WLVR

Two hundred shots were scheduled to be given on Feb. 19 and Feb. 20, according to Victoria Montero, executive director at the Hispanic Center. 

“The idea was to create a clinic, a kind of mobile clinic where it was within the community, for the community. We simplified the registration process, we have bilingual staff, it’s in a neighborhood where the people know the Hispanic Center,” Montero says.

Organizers say they’ll evaluate how the pop-up clinic went to decide whether to host more. 

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