CINCINNATI — More people are eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine now, but that means more people could get left out of the process. The Cincinnati Health Department and Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio took the steps to bring the shot to people who want it at a pop-up site at the Bond Hill Recreation Center.
Monday’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic was different because more than 200 people over age 50 in immigrant and minority groups were able to get this shot, and there's a reason for that: the CHD site focused on immunizing underserved groups.
One of Monday’s patients, Bonnie Whitt, was one of the 208 people able to get an appointment through Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio.
“That was one way I got it done quickly, by Catholic Charties doing it for me and they set up the appointment for me,” she said.
Catholic Charities COO Patrick Reynolds-Berry said people in minority groups are more likely to suffer complications from the virus.
"We're really concerned about the disproportionate effect that COVID-19 has had on low-income, minority and immigrant communities, especially locally,” he said. “And we work with those communities every day, and we thought it was really important to partner with the Cincinnati Health Department and also the Bond Hill Rec Center for allowing us to bring this day together."
Studies show that those populations face more barriers when it comes to signing up for the shot, like language access.
“So a lot of the folks today that are here don't speak English as a first language. Also digital literacy and access to internet and computers is also a barrier," Reynolds-Berry said.
Tara Dahal with My Healthy Home Care helped bring the Bhutanese community to the Bond Hill pop-up vaccine site.
"I'm still looking to register more people when they raise the criteria,” she said.
Whitt and others like Cheryl Foggie, a new great-grandmother, said they decided it would be best to get a vaccine to safely see their families. Overall, those at Monday’s pop-up site said they hope this shot brings them back to the normalcy they have missed during this troubling time.
"The last time I saw my granddaughter, I wasn't able to hug her,” Whitt said. “I had to back away, so I’ll be happy to see them and give them a hug."
Catholic Charities of Southwestern Ohio said it is looking to host more clinics for those facing challenges signing up for a vaccine, but no concrete plans are in place yet.