In Utah, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities have some of the highest infection, hospitalization, and death rates relative to their population. The same disturbing trend can be seen in other places such as California, Louisiana, and Washington state, and other states that disaggregate NHPI data from the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) category.
Recognizing the longstanding challenges that NHPI communities have faced, the Utah Pacific Islander Health Coalition (UPIHC), in partnership with several local health departments, like the Utah County Health Department, and the Utah State Health Department, mobilized early to begin hosting weekly vaccination clinics focused on increasing access to vaccinations for NHPI community members in a safe, trusting, and culturally affirming way. Many of the mobile vaccination clinic efforts aimed at reaching NHPI community members in Utah are coordinated partnerships through the UPIHC member network. The mobile vaccination clinics are tailored to create a space that is culturally grounded, and feels safe and comfortable for the NHPI community, which includes partnering with faith-based partners and hosting clinics in familiar locations. The partnership efforts between Utah’s local health departments (LHDs) and UPIHC has been a leading factor behind the distribution of 1,000’s of vaccines to the NHPI community throughout the State.
In this video, we are joined by Isabella Lesa, Community Health Worker with the Utah County Health Department and Jake Fitisemanu, Co-Founder and Board Member of the Utah Pacific Islander Coalition and Program Manager with the Utah State Department of Health, as they discuss the importance of disaggregated data and culturally grounded efforts in reaching NHPI community members in vaccine distribution.