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INDIANAPOLIS — The goal is simple: get Latino Hoosiers vaccinated.

This Saturday, the Marion County Public Health Department will host a special Spanish Vaccine Registration Hotline event. According to André Zhang Sonera, a project manager for city government, around 99,000 Latinos live in Marion County, but only 3,000 have actually been vaccinated. Sonera tells WISH-TV that number is concerning.

“That’s still a low number of individuals that we need to make sure we’re breaking that divide and we’re making sure we’re reaching the community with their trust and confidence in their native language,” Sonera tells WISH-TV.

Another challenge health officials face is building trust with the Latino-community, and overcoming the language barrier that may be standing in many Latino Hoosiers’ way.

That’s something Belkis Ramirez, a program specialist for the Marion County Health Department, wants to overcome.

Ramirez tells WISH-TV, “We want all Hoosiers including the Latino community to be safe, to be healthy, to be protected.”

One way health officials will try to break down barriers is to have bilingual volunteers ready to answer phones, and a bilingual doctor ready to answer any medical questions concerning the vaccine.

“Some people they don’t speak English so they don’t know the website, so they don’t know how to navigate the system, so they are confused with the whole process of registration, who qualifies, what do they need. Everything is confusing for them so here we are answering questions,” Ramirez tells WISH-TV.

Ramirez believes just hearing a familiar, friendly voice on the phone may convince some Latino Hoosiers that getting vaccinated is the right thing to do.

“A friendly call like ‘Hola, ¿cómo estás?,’” Ramirez explains to WISH-TV, saying “Hello, how are you?” in Spanish. “It means so much to the people because it creates confidence, like I’m important for them, I’m a person they want to take care of.”

The registration event will run from 8 AM to 8 PM Saturday. Latino Hoosiers can call 317-221-2100 or 317-327-2100.

Health officials are planning to have another Spanish Vaccine Registration Hotline event in the future.