MADISON, Wis.— With more than 100,000 Hmong residents living in Wisconsin and thousands of families right in Dane County, a targeted outreach has emerged in a specialty grocery store, all to ensure the health and safety of those citizens during the pandemic

What You Need To Know

  • Grocery store vaccination effort described as ''one stop shopping''

  • Advocates say it ''protects Hmong community and makes them feel like they weren't left behind''

  • Hmong individuals may face language barriers or digital divide contributing to confusion over vaccine awareness

All September — every Friday a mobile unit from Public Health Madison Dane County sets up at the east side Oriental Market, offering the COVID-19 shot.  Hmong Institute CEO Peng Her said this special clinic offers a helping hand to his community.

"So coming here, you don't need any ID, you don't need any proof of insurance, you come and get your vaccine, and you also qualify for the state's $100 visa card," Her said about the effort.

He said the idea helps protect his community and makes them feel like they aren't left behind.

"So that there wasn't any language barrier or the barriers like the digital divide, where people didn't know how to sign online for an appointment," Her said.

Public Health Madison Dane County EMT vaccinator Hannah Tarrant said it also is a way to establish trust.

"You're not allowed to decline a vaccine based on someone's race. But for some people it is comforting to have someone who looks more like them vaccinate them," Tarrant said.

On top of that, having it a grocery store takes a lot of the worry away, according to Oriental Market's manager Cynthia Lee.

"It's one stop shopping... It keeps everyone safe, especially, all my customers like most majority of my customers are elderly," Lee said.

While the effort may shut down at the end of the month, Public Health Madison Dane County representatives said the specialty grocery store vaccination effort was a success and the organization is considering additional clinics there this fall. ​