By Michael Abeyta

DENVER (CBS4) – Saturday morning, thousands of people showed up to the National Western Complex in Denver. Instead of seeing a rodeo like usual, they were lining up for the COVID-19 vaccine.

“Our goal is to vaccinate 5,000 of our community members,” said Megan Mahncke, the Senior VP of External Relations for SCL Health.

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(credit: SCL Health)

SCL Health is teaming up with partners like Metro Caring Colorado to get all of the preregistered patients from underserved communities like Black, Native and Latino communities vaccinated by bringing it to their neighborhoods.

“When we talk about health equity, this is what it looks like,” said Mahncke.

Racism and poverty have historically led people in communities of color to fear going to the doctor, but COVID-19 is hitting these communities hard and making health disparities even worse. That’s why SCL Health worked with people in the community to rebuild that trust that has been dashed.

(credit: SCL Health)

“This is what community partnership really looks like,” said Mahncke.

Gov. Jared Polis paid a visit to the hundreds of volunteers who helped make the event possible.

Maria Ortiz signed her parents up for the clinic because she wants to protect them and do their part to protect the community.

“The only way we can get through this pandemic is everybody needs to get vaccinated,” she said.

Her dad, Santiago Ortiz, was ready for the vaccine, but her mom, Luz Avila, like many in the Latino community, had some apprehension.

A Spanish translator told CBS4, “She was very fearful and was not going to have her vaccine, but when she was able to get the education and her questions answered, she’s right here and she wants to see the same for everybody else.”

Santiago agrees and says he tells his “compadres” they need to come down and get their “vacuna tambien.” The translator says he tells them, “Not to be afraid the doctors have looked into it. Just come in.”

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Those who would like more information about registering for future COVID-19 vaccination events can visit sclhealth.org/covidvaccine or call 303-812-2051 to hear a recorded update.

Michael Abeyta