The cities of Dunwoody and Doraville have partnered with We Love BuHi and other nonprofits to provide better COVID-19 vaccine access to non-English speakers who face language barriers when signing up for appointments. 

At Dunwoody’s April 26 City Council meeting, the council approved an intergovernmental agreement with the city of Doraville to fund future vaccination efforts for immigrant communities in the cities. According to the agreement, both cities will offer $28,500 through CARES II funding, which will go towards recruiting volunteers, a media campaign, translation services, and necessary items such as personal protective equipment (PPE). 

The first vaccination event from this partnership was held at the outdoor green space across from Doraville City Hall at 3725 Park Ave on April 24. According to Mayor Lynn Deustch, 306 vaccinations were administered at that event. 

A city spokesperson said the funding from Dunwoody will be put towards future vaccination events, including a mobile event held at the Corners Academy at 6890 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard on May 1. Other events will take place on May 15 in Doraville and May 22 in Dunwoody. According to a city spokesperson, vaccinations will be available by appointment only. The sites will be open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the days of the event. 

The cities have partnered with We Love BuHi, a nonprofit focused on preserving the multicultural identity of Buford Highway; the Latino Community Fund, which supports nonprofits that serve Latino communities in Georgia; and Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE), an organization that helps vulnerable communities in the face of crisis. 

Lily Pabian, executive director of We Love BuHi, said people seeking a vaccine do not have to be a resident of Doraville or Dunwoody to sign up for an appointment. She said links to make appointments can be found on We Love BuHi’s Facebook page or other social media. She said a link to make an appointment for the May 1 event in Dunwoody will be available shortly. 

“This pandemic continues to shed light on the vital roles we as boots-to-the ground nonprofits have in impacting the lives of the people of our communities,” said Pabian in an emailed statement. “Advocacy for access, whether tests, essential needs such as foods, and now in-language support for vaccines, are key areas in which we work feverishly to operationalize. We are so appreciative of city partners from Doraville and Dunwoody and Latino Community Fund GA – we truly are in this together.”

Gigi Pedraza, executive director of the Latino Community Fund (LCF Georgia), said the organization was excited to partner with the cities and other nonprofits. 

“We recognize the important and valuable diversity that exists in all our communities and our team is committed to design opportunities that facilitate access to all individuals,” Pedraza said in an email. “We can only be safe if all of us are safe.”

Dunwoody announced the partnership on its Facebook page on April 16, and is looking for volunteers who speak different languages to assist at future vaccination events. Volunteers will be paid $15 an hour and can apply here.

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.