Usme CNN  — 

Nixon Valera, a 42-year-old Venezuelan migrant selling empanadas in the streets of Bogota, does not want to receive vaccination against Covid-19.

“You have to be brave to take the vaccine right now, how do you know what happens with the secondary effects? There’s a lot of misinformation going on, we know nothing, and I trust nobody,” he told CNN.

Valera himself developed Covid-19 symptoms last year and said he missed three days of work while recovering from it. He later tested positive for the virus in a rapid antigen test, but his fear of getting vaccinated is independent of his own encounter with the virus, he said.

His son Christian, 17, is similarly vaccine averse. “I don’t want to have anything to do with it, the vaccine, the virus, nothing at all,” said Christian, who works in construction.

Next door is a hair salon where Liliana Reyes, 28, works. Also a migrant from Maracaibo, Venezuela, Reyes equally does not want to take the vaccine – “Me? You must be crazy, I’ll never take it!”

The opinion of these vaccine-skeptical Venezuelan migrants might be a stark contrast with the current worldwide run on vaccines – but such marginalized communities could be key to Colombia’s national vaccine rollouts. Inoculation campaigns are effective only if the majority of the population embraces them, and any small community’s refusal to get on board could undermine the broader effort.

Latin America has been one of the regions most affected by coronavirus across the world, and new variants are emerging which could accelerate the spread of the virus. But the region presents two significant obstacles to widespread vaccination campaigns: Challenging logistics required to reach many communities in rural and mountainous areas, and highly marginalized populations like ethnic minorities, migrants and informal workers who may struggle to access social services.

Colombia commenced vaccinations on February 17, and while the arrival of the vaccine was celebrated, the real work starts now to inoculate en masse. As a resurgence of the coronavirus spreads across the continent, just about 2% of Colombia’s population has been fully vaccinated. Venezuelan migrants are as eligible as Colombian citizens for the vaccine due to their Temporary Protected Status, announced this February by President Ivan Duque.