Pierson is the latest community to receive COVID-19 vaccines in an effort to get vaccinations to underserved populations.
Volusia County set aside 350 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for Piersonites ages 65 and over at the San Jose Mission at 165 Emporia Road on Friday, March 12.
Pierson was selected due to the size of the town’s Hispanic population as well as its distance from DeLand, where Volusia County has been administering vaccinations, Melanie Black told The Beacon.
Black is the Volusia County Department of Health public health preparedness manager.
“Anytime we have something happening, we think of this community,” Black said. “We know a lot of people in the community can’t make it to the Volusia County Fairgrounds. We’re going out to communities that are underserved.”
This vaccination event took place following a clinic for members of the Spring Hill community in DeLand, most of whose residents are nonwhite individuals.
Pierson, per U.S. Census Bureau data, has a reported population that is more than 40 percent Hispanic. This, combined with a number of seasonal agricultural workers, marked Pierson as a good community to bring COVID-19 vaccines.
“We knew we’d have a large Hispanic population,” Black said.
As such, this meant that the county Department of Health had to take the number of Spanish-speakers into consideration.
Translators were stationed at every table inside of the church, the lead nurse for the clinic spoke Spanish, and a number of volunteers wandered the church assisting individuals who spoke predominantly Spanish.
Among them was Pierson Town Councilwoman Sergia Cardenas, who helped coordinate with the county Department of Health for the event, spreading the word online and through her former campaign staff.
Cardenas said she was “overjoyed” to be involved in helping members of the community get their COVID-19 shots.
“We’ve had a really great outcome,” she told The Beacon during the clinic, where she was helping people fill out forms.
Among vaccine recipients was Marcos Crisanto, a Pierson native, who works with the Rural Coalition, an organization that represents farmworkers.
“The vaccine is very important for the farmworkers,” he said. “They’re essential people, working in the field every day.”
Crisanto said he was happy to get his COVID-19 shot, and happy that many others who wouldn’t be able to travel far from their homes could get it, too.
In total, 134 individuals were vaccinated, and, Black said, the county Departments of Health Emergency Management are already discussing a follow-up event with the Town of Pierson.