Political cartoonist uses storytelling to help dispel COVID misinformation in Latino community

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of the most influential political cartoonists in the country is turning his attention toward combating the COVID-related misinformation that is prominent in the Latino community of California.

Lalo Alcaraz is using his graphic tablet and pen to deliver information on the COVID vaccine to the Latino Community, like the cartoon where he says heroes are not necessarily the ones wearing capes, but wearing band-aids, referring to those who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

"It's a tough one, but that's why we need cartoons to battle this," Alcaraz told ABC7 News reporter Lyanne Melendez.

RELATED: How two Latino doctors made history together during the pandemic

It was the California Department of Health that reached out to Alcaraz, known for his syndicated cartoon which focuses on Latino culture and politics.

The vaccine campaign is meant to reach out to all Latinos through social media, but especially farm workers in the Central Valley.

In one of his animated videos the character tells people, "You've got to make sure to get them the gift of protection from 'la Rona' y 'los' variants.'"

Having trouble viewing this map? Click here to view in a new window.

"There is misinformation in Spanish that's hurting the community, lots of quackery and things like bad access to health care," added Alcaraz.

His work to inform the Latino community began last year in Arizona. Professor Gilberto Lopez of Arizona State University recruited Alcaraz to work with the COVIDLatino.org campaign.

"Storytelling is the most effective way to get very complex information to the community, so that's how it started," said Lopez.

The site also highlights the work of other artists.

"I've also noticed a kind of macho attitude with young men like. 'I don't need it, I'm strong,'" explained Alcaraz.

RELATED: Community leaders reflect on how COVID-19 impacted racial justice

A Christmas-theme animation created by Alcaraz is aimed at encouraging those young and old to get the vaccine and the booster.

"And that includes you 'gente.' Go now to MyTurn.CA.gov to get your free vaccine and booster. We're all in this together. 'Adios.'"

Copyright © 2022 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.