Community Impact

'The Vaccine, In Our Words': Massachusetts' Gladys Vega

An activist in Chelsea, Mass., is on a mission to get her majority-Hispanic community vaccinated and protected from COVID – and she won’t take no for an answer.
Walgreens Stories
In the next episode of “The Vaccine, In Our Words,” we follow Gladys Vega, an activist, community organizer and executive director for La Colaborativa Food Pantry in Chelsea, Mass. Chelsea is one of the only two majority-Hispanic cities in the state, with more than 60 percent of the city’s population coming from Latin and Central American backgrounds. It’s also a sanctuary city with many undocumented people living and working as part of the community.
Facing obstacles like financial difficulties, language barriers and misinformation surrounding access to the vaccine for undocumented people, community organizers like Vega play a crucial role in getting the people of Chelsea vaccinated and protected from COVID – and help quell the fears of those who remain hesitant to get their shot.
 As part of “The Vaccine, In Our Words” the film is one of seven short documentary films sponsored by Walgreens featuring stories of people and communities struggling with COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy. The films, which premiered on YouTube, were made by Slipstream, in collaboration with Walgreens’ marketing team.
“At the end of the day, vaccine hesitancy, like so many challenges, comes down to one question: How do you change someone’s mind about something?” says filmmaker David McLain of Slipstream. “Each of the people featured in this series has thought long and hard about this question. These short films set out to capture some of the different ways trusted voices, like Gladys Vega, are working to get hesitant people in their communities to take the shot. This film, which is presented entirely in Spanish with English subtitles, meets vaccine-hesitant members of the Hispanic community where they are with a message they can understand and relate to.”
See the film below and get to know Vega for yourself:
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