DALLAS, September 22, 2021 — COVID-19 has affected the health, job safety and financial security of Hispanic Americans. Hispanic people are almost 2.5 times as likely to die from COVID-19 than white/non-Hispanic people, when age is taken into account[1]. This disproportionate impact of the pandemic is shedding a new national light on the alarmingly low COVID-19 vaccination rate remaining within the Hispanic community[2]. As a champion for health equity, the American Heart Association, the leading global voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke for all, has launched a new public awareness campaign to empower and inform the community about the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine in a way that is relevant to Latino culture and language. According to a journal from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society, the lack of accurate Spanish-language resources about COVID-19 vaccinations has contributed to a prevalence of misinformation, adversely impacting communities of color at a greater rate[3].

“’COVID-19 vaccine misinformation continues to be widespread among the Hispanic community, but studies have shown the vaccines are safe and effective for all adults. That includes people with existing medical conditions like heart disease as well as for people of color, all of whom were part of the large participant groups in the vigorous scientific research conducted to test the vaccines,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., M.P.H., FAAFP, Chief Medical Officer for Prevention at the American Heart Association. “Stay Fuerte for All” is a life-saving message, presented in a culturally appropriate way.”

The “Stay Fuerte for All” initiative will become a permanent part of the Association’s continuing efforts to raise lifesaving awareness within vulnerable communities. It is also designed to both equip and inspire community change agents to support efforts to reduce health disparities within the Latino community and help overcome barriers to some of the challenges they face, such as limited access to healthcare[4]. Many Latino people are at an increased risk for serious health complications – including a heart attack – due to the added stress caused by health, social and economic factors[5].

Studies show Latino, Black and Native American people and those living in rural areas are experiencing higher rates of COVID-19 and more severe complications, including heart issues and even death. A recent scientific study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart failure were four of the top risks for COVID-19 complications. People in historically under-resourced communities are more likely to have underlying health conditions and are more likely to work essential jobs limiting their ability to socially distance[6]. In addition, they are less likely to have access to quality health care and may delay seeking care.

An online “Stay Fuerte COVID-19 Panel” – in Spanish with English subtitles – will be held on October 13, 2021, at 1:00 p.m. EST/ 12:00 p.m. CST/ 10:00 a.m. PST featuring leaders from Catholic Charities USA and the Mexican Consulate and presented in collaboration with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Hola Doctor and NBCU-Telemundo National. To register for this free event click here or go to empoweredtoserve.org/stayfuerte for more information.

The Association previously announced plans to invest more than $230 million over the next four years to support targeted initiatives and programs. The “Stay Fuerte for All” will be an additional effort focused on the Hispanic community to drive systemic public health change aimed at removing barriers to equitable health for everyone, everywhere.  

To learn more about the campaign, visit empoweredtoserve.org/StayFuerte.


Additional Resources

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Elizabeth Nickerson: 305-761-5932 Elizabeth.Nickerson@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org

[1]  National Center for Health Statistics. (2021, September 9). Provisional COVID-19 Deaths: Distribution of Deaths by Race and Hispanic Origin. Retrieved from CDC.org: https://data.cdc.gov/NCHS/Provisional-COVID-19-Deaths-Distribution-of-Deaths/pj7m-y5uh

[2] KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION  (2021, September). Latest Data on COVID-19 Vaccinations by Race/Ethnicity. Retrieved from KFF.org: https://www.kff.org/coronavirus-covid-19/issue-brief/latest-data-on-covid-19-vaccinations-race-ethnicity/ 

[3] Jagdish Khubchandani, Y. M. (2021). Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health. COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in Hispanics and African Americans: A review and recommendations for practice. Retrieved from the Psychoneuroimmunology Research Society: COVID-19 vaccination hesitancy in Hispanics and African-Americans: A review and recommendations for practice - ScienceDirect

[4] Kapur, J. J. (2006). Hispanics and the Future of America. Retrieved from National Center for Biotechnology Information: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK19910/#a2000e49dddd00161

[5]Virani SS, A. A. (2021, January 27). Heart disease and stroke statistics 2021 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Retrieved from professional.heart.org: https://professional.heart.org/-/media/phd-files-2/science-news/2/2021-heart-and-stroke-stat-update/2021_stat_update_factsheet_hispanic_latino_race_and_cvd.pdf?la=en

[6] U.S. BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS. (2019, October). Labor force characteristics by race and ethnicity, 2018. Retrieved from www.bls.gov: https://www.bls.gov/opub/reports/race-and-ethnicity/2018/home.htm