Multicultural association driving newcomers to vaccinations

Geza Wordofa is pleading with Southwestern Ontario’s newcomers to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

“We ask them. We bow to them to come out. It’s a very, very important time,” says Wordofa, founder and chair of the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron.

Whether it’s due to religious beliefs, language barriers, health concerns, or historical lack of trust in government, Wordofa says many of the new immigrants to Huron-Perth he’s spoken to are hesitant to get vaccinated.

“Some people are afraid. But, we need not be afraid, because we live in a safe country. We all need to co-operate,” says Hira Dhariwal, a volunteer with the association.

So, Dhariwal, Wordofa and the other volunteers with the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron are going town to town, offering education, information and now, even offering to pick people up, and drop them off at their vaccination appointments.

“No cost. Free. Anytime. We are working 24 hours a day. Whether it’s in Huron, Perth, Wellington, Oxford or Middlesex County. We are covering all those areas, right now,” says Wordofa.

Wordofa’s volunteer organization is offering translation services as well, to help new immigrants understand exactly what the COVID-19 vaccination program is attempting to accomplish.

“Most of the way the messages have been delivered have been in English, and people are having a language barrier. So we are trying to share that information in different languages, so it’s in a way that they will understand,” says Maria Awenglual, an association volunteer.

“If we get the vaccine on time, we save my life, some other life, family life, society life. This is very important that we get the medicine, clean our hands, and wear a mask,” says Dhariwal.

“Back home, I don’t know when they’ll be getting vaccine. I’m happy to be living in a wonderful country. Please, please, come out. This is a good moment, a good time to get vaccinated,” says Wordofa.

To access the Perth-Huron Multicultural Association’s COVID-19 help, you can call 1-888-910-1583.