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Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force Launches Hotline To Help Abuelitas Get The Vaccine

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The Kern County Latino COVID-19 Task Force launched a new hotline, Project Abuelita, to help older non-English speaking people schedule COVID-19 appointments. It’s already received over 800 callers. 

 

Project Abuelita is an extension of the task force’s mental health hotline that was created to help people cope with the pandemic. 

 

“It’s a place to have callers that may not have the internet or may not have a computer,” says Hotline Manager Bianca Torres. 

 

She’s received a lot of calls from farmworkers, people in the education sectors, and people who are 65 years and older. Some just don’t understand how the process works. 

 

“Some of them are on the verge of crying when they call because they say they don’t have any family members,” Torres says. “They say all their family members have passed and they don't have any younger people to help them with the website.”   

 

And if they need help getting to their appointment, Torres says she directs them to some of the local transportation services like Dial-a-ride that provides free transportation for vaccine appointments in Delano. 

 

“If there are no more appointments left for the MyTurn website then I have other places for them to go like other hospitals and things like that to help schedule them,” she says.  

 

Project Abuelita is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday. But people can leave a voicemail after hours or on the weekend, according to Torrez. To access this community program, call 661-525-5900. This project is scheduled to run through June 2021.

Madi Bolanos covered immigration and underserved communities for KVPR from 2020-2022. Before joining the station, she interned for POLITCO in Washington D.C. where she reported on US trade and agriculture as well as indigenous women’s issues during the Canadian election. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in anthropology from San Francisco State University. Madi spent a semester studying at the Danish Media and Journalism School where she covered EU policies in Brussels and alleged police brutality at the Croatian-Serbian border.
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