DeKalb, IL — Latino residents in a Maryland County are getting vaccinated at higher rates due to the success of a COVID-19 campaign called “Abuelina.”
Abuelina, her husband Don Carlos, and their grandchildren, Alex and Valentina, have created various animated messages throughout the pandemic to get more Latino residents tested for coronavirus and get vaccinated.
The animated messages helped get Maryland residents such as Davoea Guerrero vaccinated against the coronavirus. Guerrero saw five family members get the virus last year and tested positive herself in December, but she still wasn’t convinced to get vaccinated.
Guerrero then met Abuelina and she reminded Guerrero of her own grandma — a short, hard-working and wise Chilean 74-year-old grandmother. Guerrero then changed her mind and decided to get vaccinated.
"She's everyone's grandmother," Guerrero told The Washington Post. "You doubt your mom, but not your grandmother. In the Latino community, grandmothers are wise and magical. We have a lot of respect for them and we know we should listen."
Vaccination rates in Montgomery County among the Latino and Hispanic population is 9.2% higher than the rate for non-Hispanic White residents, reaching 74.2% for Hispanics compared to 65% for non-Hispanic White residents, according to The Washington Post.
The concept of Abuelina was intended to reflect the "heart of the people," said Mynellies Negron, marketing director of Communication Shop, a public relations company that designed the character.
"She would listen to everyone and when she said something it was not imposing," Negron told The Washington Post. "And everyone would simply be quiet and listen, not just out of respect, but because they knew she had great things to say based on her experience."