Latino cartoonist uses his art to encourage vaccinations

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A prominent Latin cartoonist uses his art to encourage more people to get vaccinated.

Lalo Alcaraz, author of the first Latin political comic strip released nationally “La Cucaracha,” creates culturally relevant art for CovidLatino.org to help disseminate information about Covid-19 vaccines and testing to Latin American communities, especially in the southwest.

“It’s totally in my back alley as far as something I believe in and it’s a crisis, which is vaccine hesitation in our community, especially among the campesinos,” Alcaraz said, referring to farmers.

Lalo Alcaraz at the 2nd Annual L’Attitude – LatiNExt Live on September 26, 2019 in San Diego.Jerod Harris File / Getty Images

A two-time finalist for the Pulitzer cartoon editorial in the past two years, which collaborated on the hugely popular animated film “Coco,” Alcaraz told NBC News he was excited about the project. His recent cartoon praising the legend of gymnastics Simone Biles for putting her sanity first went viral.

One of his cartoons for the Covid campaign recreates a traditional Mexican bingo-type game, Lottery, to show the benefits of getting the vaccine – from being able to travel to dating. Another cartoon shows what a Latino farm worker looks like when he’s shot, holding a box of cabbage, versus when he doesn’t – holding a box full of Covid.

This cartoon recreates a traditional Mexican bingo game, the Lotería, to show the benefits of getting vaccinated. Lalo Alcaraz / Courtesy of Lalo Alcaraz / Andrews McMeel Syndication

The campaign was led by Gilberto Lopez, assistant professor in the School of Cross-Border Studies at Arizona State University, whose goal was to create a bilingual website as well as the art of breaking vaccine hesitation in Latinos. The educator hopes the website, which features animated videos in English and Spanish, debunks the Covid myths that have been spreading in the Latino community.

A lack of reliable information, as well as misinformation and misinformation in English and Spanish, contributed to the reluctance towards the vaccine.

“Whatever information we put out, I hope it resonates with people and hopefully starts to change people’s ideas and knowledge about the vaccine,” Lopez said. azcentral.

The coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately hit Latinos nationwide, who have accounted for nearly 30 percent of Covid cases and nearly 20 percent of deceased. California, which has the country’s largest Latin American population, has seen an increase in new cases as the delta variant continues to spread, mainly among the unvaccinated.

A May survey found that there were still people questioning whether vaccinations were free or whether vaccines required disclosure of personal information.

“Although vaccines are available to all adults regardless of their insurance or immigration status, many Hispanic adults who have been vaccinated say they were asked for their health insurance information or a voucher. government issued identity “, Samantha Artiga, Director of Racial Equity and Health Policy Program at Kaiser Family Foundation, previously said with NBC Latino. Artiga said this can create barriers for those who are uninsured or lack legal immigration status.

Alcaraz, who worked as a cultural consultant and writer for Nickelodeon’s “The Casagrandes”, said it was important to talk to older people, who are particularly susceptible to the deadly dangers of the virus, as well as young adults who are still hesitant. to get a shot.

The cartoonist explained how his 91-year-old mother-in-law was vaccinated and said that “if she can get the shot, I don’t see why a big, strong ‘campesino’ couldn’t.”

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