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Bilingual outreach seeks to combat vaccine hesitancy across Malheur County

The Covid vaccine. (Liliana Frankel/The Enterprise)

ONTARIO – As Oregon moves closer to its vaccination goal of 80%, vaccination rates in communities of color still mostly lag the white population. 

In Malheur County, demographic data for vaccine rates is still being combined with data from Klamath, Lake and Harney counties because the Black, Pacific Islander, American Indian and Alaska Native and Asian communities in the area are so small that issues of confidentiality are a factor. 

The data also is of limited use since at one point, almost 40% of vaccine recipients in Malheur County opted not to share their race or ethnicity. 

Small improvements in vaccination rates for every group have been noted this fall – but those were in part because the 2020 Census showed overall declining populations in the four . . .