ARIZONA HEART & SOL: Tucson woman helps hundreds sign-up for vaccine

Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 2:06 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - A Tucson woman single-handedly helped hundreds of people get signed up for the COVID-19 vaccine and is being recognized as this week’s Heart & Sol recipient.

Language barriers and lack of technology have made it difficult for some people to register for the vaccine. 26-year-old Dora Valencia took notice.

“I sort of have an insider’s viewpoint on these communities,” Valencia said. “They are a little bit more vulnerable and have less education.”

Valencia has her Masters in Public Health and is working to get her doctorate. She saw vaccine accessibility issues firsthand through her coursework and within her own family.

“It was heartbreaking because I knew we were in the exact same situation,” she said. “We live in multigenerational households, the majority of us are essential workers and we thrive getting together.”

Her sister, Yasmine Valencia, has a work schedule that made it difficult for her to get an appointment when slots became available. Dora Valencia signed her up and started helping other family members, too.

”I feel protected and much more secure,” Yasmine Valencia said.

Soon word spread, especially in Tucson’s Spanish-speaking community.

“I would just get text messages. Like ‘hey, I heard you could get us an appointment. Can we give you our information?”'

She took it upon her herself to get nearly 300 people registered.

”I’m really proud of her because she’s always willing to help everybody,” Yasmine Valencia said.

Dora Valencia said her experience has made two things very clear.

“The power of community and people are really looking for someone they can trust,” she said.

Dora Valencia was presented a $300 gift card from our sponsor Casino Del Sol. If you have someone you think embodies the “Heart and Sol of Tucson,” please nominate them, HERE.

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