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Anti-vaccine flyers target members of at-risk community

A flyer placed on San Antonians' car doors specifically discourages Black, poor, elderly and homeless people from taking the vaccine.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio family says it found a flyer promoting anti-vaccine conspiracy theories stuffed in their car door Wednesday. 

Someone placed the pamphlet there while the two were parked at a Goodwill on the south side. 

"People won't take the vaccine because they read this," Kherry Alonzo said. "Everything on here is pretty ridiculous, but people will believe that." 

Alonzo says she and her grandfather, Mando Juan, saw the same pamphlet on cars throughout the thrift store parking lot. 

"It's targeting people that go to Goodwill," Mando Juan said. "People that go to Goodwill are usually people of color, poor people, elderly people. Mostly innocent." 

The flyer specifically mentions and aims to discourage Black, elderly, homeless and poor people from being immunized. Generally, the pandemic has harmed these communities the most. 

Each assertion the flyer makes has been disproven by scientists or doctors. 

"It's doing evil stuff. This is doing the devil's work," Mando Juan said. 

Less than half of the residents in Mando Juan's zip code are fully vaccinated. The rate is about the same for the neighborhood where the Goodwill is located, near Brooks City Base. 

"I know people right now that are not taking it," he said. "They're back and forth, on top of the fence." 

Mando Juan notes that some thrift store clientele, along with some of his friends and neighbors, don't always have access to good information they can use to challenge conspiracy theories. 

The county plans to invest $300,000 in federal aid to combat misinformation. It will post pro-vaccine billboards in rural portions of Bexar County, where vaccination rates are lowest. 

The ads will go up mostly inside Loop 410. 

Bexar officials have also contracted with an advertising company that will target younger people using social media in unvaccinated zip codes. 

"It angers you if you think about it," Mando Juan said. "Hopefully people just throw (the flyer) away."

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