Five days, 100 vaccine doses and a wildfire of conspiracy theories
Story by Jose A. Del Real Photos by Melina Mara
May 28, 2021
For all its beauty, California’s wine country is also a land of crushing inequality.
Can mutual trust beat disinformation? One woman tests the power of presence in a community accustomed to neglect.
CLOVERDALE, Calif. — Mayra Arreguin had knocked on every trailer in the sun-drenched barrio, the ones with the elaborate flower gardens and those with the boarded-up windows, too.
She had five days left to fill 100 coronavirus vaccine appointments that had been set aside by a local clinic for low-income families, and there were still holdouts in this small farmworker colony on the northern edge of California’s Sonoma County.
So, on this spring day, she pulled out her large yellow legal pad and rapped on the tan vinyl siding of one more mobile home.
A woman in an oversize white shirt and light blue shorts came out.
“Have you been vaccinated yet? Have your sisters?” Mayra asked in Spanish. She had tried them before.
“No,” responded the woman, Liliana. Her tone was sharp.
“Do you want to get vaccinated?” Mayra asked.
“No, not yet,” Liliana said.
“You’re not ready?” Mayra said. “Well, we’re here to support you. Whatever you decide.”
Liliana’s father came out to the porch. “They’re scared! I tell them it’s not a big deal, nothing happens,” he said in Spanish. He had received both coronavirus vaccine doses.
“You already got yours?” Mayra replied. “It’s up to you to convince her, then.”
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