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Research offers solution to racial disparities in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

vaccine
Posted at 7:58 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 19:58:22-05

CUYAHOGA COUNTY, Ohio  — A new report from The Center for Community Solutions found just how stark racial disparities are when it comes to COVID-19 vaccine distribution in Cuyahoga County. The research says more than 1.4 million Ohioans have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and in Cuyahoga County, only 11% of those vaccinated are Black, even though they make up 28% of the population.

Loren Anthes, who co-authored the report with Kate Warren, told News 5 “some of this has to do with access, supply chain issues, just general coordination.”

But the report also outlined a solution to the disparity: Federally Qualified Health Centers.

“They are well equipped to reach vulnerable populations and they serve a higher proportion of Black and Latinx patients in the county,” Anthes said.

Neighborhood Family Practice is an FQHC in Cuyahoga County.

President and CEO said they spotted the disparities early in the vaccination process.

“When we opened up registration to the broader community,” she said. “It’s generally folks who are white and who are educated that have access to the technology.”

The practice started targeting minority communities with its vaccination events, like holding a clinic at La Sagrada Familia Church.

“Many of our elderly patients, we had been unsuccessful in getting them to come into our clinic for a shot, early vaccine hesitancy. But when their church reached out, they were there.”

President of the Cleveland Clergy Coalition Pastor Aaron Phillips shared that same sentiment with News 5 recently.

He and Polster both said early hesitancy about the safety of the vaccine has passed.

“We’ve seen now, from people who were hesitant about the vaccine, to ‘when can I get the vaccine’” Phillips said.

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