AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Association of Mexican American Chambers of Commerce, or TAMACC, recently launched a new campaign: #SayAdiosToCOVID.
The goal of the campaign is to get Hispanic-owned business owners to take the pledge to get 100% of their employees fully vaccinated by the end of November.
The initiative is made possible thanks to a $37,000 grant from Your Shot Texas. TAMACC will use the money to create educational material in English and Spanish and gather resources to share with businesses and its staff.
The grant will also allow TAMACC to work with Texas State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications Department students in a public relations campaigns class to research vaccine hesitancy in students between 18 to 25 years of age. Students will research, interview and conduct surveys on the student group and find out why they’ve decided to wait or what may motivate them to get the vaccine.
Texas State professors will review the research and the results will then be used to develop and execute campaign strategies within the demographic, according to TAMACC. The survey findings will also be made public for others to use.
TAMACC officials said it’s important to reach the Latino community as it has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19. New data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to contract the virus, at least twice as likely to die of COVID-19 and nearly three times as likely to end up hospitalized.
“There’s a responsibility for me and every other Hispanic out there to reach out to their neighbor, to their friends, to their family and make sure they’re vaccinated because as our community continues to grow it’s going to be for not if a lot of us end up timing because of COVID-19,” said J.R. Gonzales, the organization’s executive vice-chairman.
The campaign launched last month and around 80 businesses across the state have taken the pledge, and about two dozen of those businesses are based in the Austin area including Asadas Grill, a restaurant in northeast Austin.
“I believe we definitely will reach our goal by the end of November for our staff to get fully vaccinated. Not only the staff but as well as their families,” said Rita Barragan, the restaurant’s general manager.
TAMACC also reached out to the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to help spread the word about the new campaign across the area. As of 2020, there are 51,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in the Austin area that contribute $12.8 billion to the Central Texas economy, according to the chamber.