BayCare Provides COVID-19 Vaccine Clinics for Underserved Communities

March 29, 2021


As some people considered signing up for COVID-19 vaccines, Ysbrain G. and Elbia C. had no doubt in their minds. The disease had already come too close to their family.

Earlier this year, Ysbrain's cousin died from COVID-19. Elbia's nephews also contracted the virus. So, when nurses at La Esperanza Clinic in Wimauma called to say doses would soon be available, the couple registered right away.

"We've wanted to get vaccinated for a long time," Ysbrain said through an interpreter.

Ysbrain, 61, and Elbia, 55, grew up together in Mexico. They married in their 20s and moved to the United States a few years later. Last week, the couple was among hundreds of community members, many of them medically vulnerable migrant workers, who received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccines through a longstanding partnership between BayCare and the Catholic Charities Diocese of St. Petersburg.

For more than 20 years, our organizations have promoted health within underserved and uninsured communities at clinics like La Esperanza and San Jose Mission in Dover, where faith community nurses offer primary care services at no charge to more than 2,000 patients each year.

Ysbrain, who has diabetes, visits La Esperanza every three months for checkups. Elbia goes when she's not feeling well. They say they love having the clinic in their community. And it helps that it’s just steps away from their church.

"The clinic serves me really well," said Ysbrain, who works in irrigation. "The nurses are very helpful and I don't have to take time off work since the clinic stays open in the evening."

Getting vaccinated is a matter of personal and public health for the couple. One of their two daughters is pregnant, and Elbia already calls herself a proud grandmother of four. Ysbrain's work brings him to Sun City, where he sometimes comes in contact with seniors who are at high risk of severe COVID-19. That's in part why they were so eager to get their vaccines. Ysbrain hopes others also sign up as soon as they become eligible.

"The vaccine is necessary," he said, pointing out that the more people who get vaccinated the better our collective defense against the coronavirus. "We need to be unified on this."