Columbus (WCMH) – Last week PrimaryOne Health held their first vaccine pop-up site for people ages 75 and up. They know as more vaccinations are coming, they need more hands-on-deck, especially those who are bilingual speakers.

According to Buhwan Pyakure who works for the interpretive service department, he says their patients speak 79 different languages.

“We have divided that into 4 or 5 categories. Like the first top 3 languages, top 10, top 2, and the rest. In general, we have been addressing this issue for several years,” said Pyakure.

He says the most common languages spoken are Spanish, Somali, and Nepali. As these vaccines continue to roll out, he understands the importance of having interpreters at their vaccine distributions to answer questions.

For the time being, they tell us they have a Martti tool that speaks with patients directly. The app connects the patient with someone who speaks their language on the webcam. The issue with this: technology can glitch.

Another issue: As the elderly on the primary focus for vaccinations, they know some may not be able to use the app. For some, using technology is difficult. In the era of pandemic, they also have limited access to showing someone how to use it as they have to prioritize social distancing on top of other factors.

For this reason, the CEO of PrimaryOne Health Charleta Tavares says she wants more diverse people on the health board. She would like to add bilingual or trilingual speakers to help find additional ways to tackle the ongoing translation barriers.

Tavares says at this time, they could really use a Somali speaker on the board.

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