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Refugees needing help signing up for vaccine can get assistance Thursday

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- For some of our neighbors, signing up for the vaccine isn't easy because English isn't their first language.

Fort Wayne is home to more than 11,000 Burmese refugees, and thousands more from other countries.

Many of them don't speak or write English well enough or have access to computers to be able to sign up for the COVID-19 vaccine on their own.

So Catholic Charities organized sign-up events across the community featuring translators of about 15 languages to help the refugees book vaccination appointments.

Refugees appreciated the translation and computer assistance in registering for COVID-19 vaccinations.

"This is very helpful for them to get assistance to register for the vaccination," Burmese refugee and translator Nyein Chan said.

Chan says he fled Burma more than 20 years ago, and has worked for Catholic Charities almost as long.

He translates for the organization so that other refugees like him can get the services they're eligible to receive.

"Every refugee in the United States are documented immigrants, screening by the Department of Homeland Security, USCIS. So they are legal status here," he said.

Nay Nway Nway fled Burma 15 years ago.

We found her helping Da Zit Bai sign up for his coronavirus vaccine.

"I feel so bad because I don't know English. That's why I have to come over here to get service from Catholic Charities," she translated for Bai.

She says he's been anxious to get vaccinated, saying it's important to get the shots.

"He says very important. I've been waiting for a long time to get effective vaccine," she translated.

Once people's registrations are complete, Catholic Charities will continue to help them by arranging for transportation to -- and having interpreters at -- their vaccination site.

Fort Wayne residents who are 16 and older and who need help to register for the COVID-19 vaccine can get that help from Catholic Charities on Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Oak River Apartments on Griswold Drive.

That's off Spy Run Avenue on the city's near north side.

Corinne Rose

Corinne Rose is a reporter for WPTA.

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