Johns Hopkins Taps Community Ties to Bring Vaccines to Latinos in Baltimore

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Alejandra Flores-Miller walked into the East Baltimore barbershop and asked the owner to turn down the music so she could make an announcement.

Speaking in Spanish, she said that anyone who wanted a COVID-19 vaccine could get one: A Johns Hopkins Medicine clinic at the nearby Sacred Heart of Jesus Church had extra doses.

A few customers stood up, removed the towels draped around their necks, paid, and walked over to the church. “Twenty people were in the barbershop, and three went,” Flores-Miller later said.

She knows the owner, just as she knows most of the people working in the stores and restaurants of the largely Spanish-speaking neighborhood.

Flores-Miller, research program coordinator in the Division of Infectious Diseases, has been building relationships in the community since 2008, when she created a Latino Outreach Program for Johns Hopkins to connect residents with resources for preventing and treating HIV. Now she’s helping people get COVID-19 vaccines.