SAN ANTONIO – Dr. Adelita Cantu, Associate Professor at UT Health School of Nursing in San Antonio, made history by becoming the first person in Bexar County to receive the first COVID-19 vaccine in Bexar County in December 2020. She has since joined the community. – a broad coalition to educate and vaccinate the population to reduce mortality from COVID.
“It was a circus,” she recalled. “There are cameras everywhere, trucks everywhere. It was an experience that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Cantu’s efforts to reduce COVID-19 infections and deaths continued while she was part of a public coalition called Health Confianza. It was created by about 30 community organizations that have joined forces to spread factual information about the virus and provide services to low-income communities.
“Using evidence-based health literacy strategies to encourage a surge in vaccination and dissemination of information, and actually connecting and building trust with people based on the best information, and trying to counter disinformation as well as misinformation so that we can continue to have a healthier community”. Cantu spoke about the efforts of the coalition.
According to Dr. Jason Rosenfeld, assistant professor of global health at UT Health San Antonio, the pandemic has exposed the limited access some members of the community have experienced.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and exposed the inequalities that already existed in our city and other cities in terms of access to information as well as healthcare services,” he said.
On Thursday, the federal emergency declaration of COVID-19 will end, as well as an end to free tests and vaccines. But Cantu and Rosenfeld say their work is not over yet because COVID is still in our community.
“It will just be in the community. It will exist,” Cantu said.
Health Confianza will continue its educational mission. While it was originally a COVID-focused program, it is now shifting towards other needs of the medical community, such as mental health and diabetes education.
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