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Summit County Public Health hosts pop-up vaccine clinic at Akron METRO transit station

Summit County Public Health hosts pop-up clinic at Akron METRO transit station
Posted at 4:31 PM, Jun 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-18 18:57:32-04

AKRON, Ohio — As the COVID-19 vaccination effort continues, the focus has shifted from mass clinics to targeted events for people in underserved communities.

Summit County Public Health is teaming up with Akron METRO to reach those people with a series of pop-up vaccine clinics.

The goal is to reach people who may be hesitant about getting the vaccine, or have issues related to access.

“I don't like needles. I don't do needles. I don’t like needles,” said James Crumbley of Akron.

A fear of how those vaccines are administered was enough to keep Crumbley away until Friday.

“Well, what brought me here is I had to catch the bus to the other side of town. I ain’t know nothing about this,” Crumbley said. “So I was here waiting on the bus, and I seen this setup right here, so I decided to come check it out.”

During his travels, Crumbley stumbled upon a pop-up vaccination clinic at the Akron METRO transit station downtown.

“We think there's 40-50% vaccination rates in different places that you are, but do you see the other, you know, 50-60% of people still wearing masks and you're not,” said Erika Sobolewksi, medical director for SCPH.

Sobolewski said the health department’s focus has shifted from volume to reaching people who might not have been able to access other vaccination opportunities, like their drive-thru clinics.

“Every day is a new initiative, a new demographic and a new population to try to reach,” Sobolewski said.

Friday’s clinic is the second at the transit station.

Last month, 88 people got vaccinated.

And to make the offer even more attractive to folks, those shots came with a Giant Eagle gift card and a 7-day bus pass from Akron METRO.

It was a welcome surprise to Crumbley.

“I could definitely use that because I'm unemployed. I got a house note, I got taxes to pay. So, this helped me,” he said.

It was also a welcome gift for Jermaine Roberson, who got his first dose of the Moderna vaccine Friday.

“It's good because you might need it, it might come in handy in case you want to go somewhere, especially to get to work and from work,” said Roberson, of Akron.

Seventeen-year-old Emma Barna is a fan of the incentives, but she had other reasons for getting her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

“I think it's really important to make sure that you're safe and also you're protecting those around you,” Barna said.

Crumbley opted for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

It's a one and done, so there’s no need to worry about any more needles, but he said it wasn’t even that bad.

“When it comes to a vaccine, I don't like needles, but that was nothing. I didn't even hardly feel it.”

SCPH isn't sure when they'll be returning to the transit center for another pop-up clinic, but they will be vaccinating folks at Joy Park Community Center between noon and 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 19.

Also, the department hosts vaccine clinics every Wednesday at its headquarters. More information can be found here.

Akron METRO has provided more than 1,200 free rides to vaccine appointments and clinics since March 29. More information about how to schedule a free ride can be found here.

Jade Jarvis is a reporter at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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