Cheers erupted during a recent vaccination clinic hosted by Olalla Center and Lincoln County Public Health. One by one the employees of Newport Super Oscars trickled in to receive their COVID-19 vaccinations. Co-owners Yuliana Tafoya and Servando Rivas (daughter and father) knew this act could prevent their workers from suffering the same fate as many of their loved ones.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, but we lost family members to COVID-19,” Rivas said. “I lost my dad, and Yuliana has lost three of her uncles. We did not want to lose any more people. We needed to take care of those close to us, and that includes our employees.” 

Rivas and Tafoya are not alone. According to U.S Centers for Disease Control, Hispanics accounted for 19 percent of the U.S. population but nearly 41 percent of COVID-19 deaths in 2020. The owners understood and faced down several barriers to shepherd their workers to the clinic. Hesitancy, language, misinformation, transportation, and schedules were just a few hurdles.

“We have been trying to get our employees vaccinated since this whole thing started, but there were many obstacles,” Tafoya said. First, they were all very nervous about getting vaccinated. So, my dad and I decided to set the example and got vaccinated first. Our employees then saw that we did really well and started to dismiss all the false information.

“Then, there was the issue with getting themselves scheduled since they don’t speak English and do not know how to navigate the Internet. I was so excited to get a call from the Olalla Center asking if our employees wanted to get vaccinated. I made many calls and tried to work with everyone’s schedules, but it was getting impossible. So, we decided to go ahead and close the restaurant. We were not sure how each of them would react to the vaccine, so I drove those who did not have transportation and gave them the rest of the night off.” 

In honor of Super Oscars’ example, Olalla Center challenges other business owners and managers to care for their employees as they have cared for the community throughout the pandemic. Encourage essential, agricultural, food processing and other workers and family to attend the June 4 Pfizer vaccination event at La Juquilita Mexican grocery store on Highway 101 in Newport from 4 to 8 p.m., and each person vaccinated will receive a $25 grocery voucher to La Juquilita. Spanish and Mam interpretation, a community atmosphere, live music, education, and goody bags will be provided.

To reserve a spot, call Alex Llumiquinga at 541-819-0436 or Martha Varo at 541-283-5876. Olalla Center is partnering with Lincoln County Public Health, Juntos en Colaboracion, Oregon Health Authority, and Oregon State University for this event.

Olalla Center is a 503c non-profit organization. For more information, contact Kendall Cable, Olalla Center community health and outreach director, at 541-283-6081 or kendallc@olallacenter.org.

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