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Northeast Ohio increasing vaccine accessibility for minorities



MetroHealth opened a vaccination site in Maple Heights, a suburb that’s 75% black. Meanwhile, historically black churches are also turning into vaccination clinics.

CLEVELAND — Editor’s note: The video in the player above is from a story published on May 2, 2021.

Last month, 3News Investigates told you black Ohioans were receiving vaccinations at dramatically lower rates than white Ohioans in Cuyahoga County.

Of the 120,000 shots administered at the Wolstein Center in its first three weeks, 9% (11,342 shots) went to black people, even though they make up 30% of Cuyahoga County. While 75% (91,235 shots) went to white people, who make up 60% of the county.

After our report aired, changes have been made county-wide to address the racial disparities.

RELATED: 3News Investigates: Wolstein Center vaccinating low percentage of Black Ohioans

MetroHealth opens vaccination clinic in Maple Heights to address racial disparities:

MetroHealth opened up a mass vaccination site in Maple Heights, a suburb that’s about 75% black.

“We looked at vaccination percentages by zip code, we saw a significant need in that location and we quickly rented an empty county building and converted it into a clinic,” said Akram Boutros, MD, MetroHealth CEO.

Boutros says access – that’s getting people with transportation issues to the shot – is important.

“Things like free parking, lots of highway access, access to public transportation, eliminates some of those barriers,” said Boutros.

Proximity and easy access is the reason Dawn Robinson chose MetroHealth’s Maple Heights vaccination site.

“I went to this location because it’s close to where I live. It’s only 15 to 20 minutes from my house,” said Robinson.

RELATED: ‘The vaccine is safe.’ Bridging the healthcare system and COVID-19 vaccine with the Black community

Cleveland churches host vaccination clinics to expand access to minority communities:

Meanwhile, historically black churches in Cleveland are also turning into vaccination sites, through an initiative started by the Greater Cleveland Congregations Interfaith Coalition.

“We know our congregations are seen as safe harbors in our community,” said Keisha Krumm, Exec. Director of  Greater Cleveland Congregations Interfaith Coalition. “And so it does make a difference when you create that space, to not tell people what to do, but to provide the information for them to understand”

Lee Road Baptist Church in Cleveland held a recent vaccination clinic, with 85% to 95% of the shots going into the arms of black people.

Reverend James Quincy says it’s all about educating people in an empathetic way.

“It’s very warm, it’s very friendly, it’s very neighborly because its right there in the neighborhood,” said Rev. James Quincy, Lee Road Baptist Church.

Upcoming vaccination clinics at Cleveland churches:

Elizabeth Baptist in Cleveland is holding an upcoming vaccination clinic on Saturday May, 15th for first doses of Moderna. The second doses are scheduled to be administered on Saturday, June 12th. The clinic will run from 10a.m. – 12:30p.m. for 200 doses.

Shiloh Baptist in Cleveland is also holding an upcoming vaccination clinic on Wednesday, May 5th from 9a.m. – 1p.m. for first doses of Pzifer. The second doses are scheduled to be administered on Wednesday, May 26th. Click here to register.

Editor’s note: The video in the player below is from a story published on April 26, 2021.




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