Pop-up vaccine clinics hope to ease racial disparities in distribution

Vaccine administration in the black community in bond hill
Patricia Hawkins Burley of Forest Park gets vaccinated.jpg
Posted at 5:47 PM, Feb 10, 2021

CINCINNATI — Cincinnati Health Commissioner Melba Moore said her department is mapping where to set up vaccine distributions throughout the city to specifically counterbalance racial disparities in vaccine administration that were revealed by a study from the Center for Closing the Health Gap.

In the study, researchers found that African American residents in Hamilton County have a higher death and illness rate, and that those seeking an appointment for the vaccine are among the least likely to get it.

Last summer, a nonprofit run by pastors' wives brought hundreds of people to New Prospect Baptist Church in Bond Hill for COVID-19 testing. Now, Moore and her team are asking them to do the same, to bring back roughly 250 African American residents for vaccines.

"This was the perfect opportunity to target the First Ladies for Health," said Dena Cranley, First Ladies for Health co-chair.

On Wednesday, they did just that.

"I was on the internet, I was calling the health department," said Anthony Bassett, 67, who received the vaccine at New Prospect Baptist Church. "Anybody and everybody I could think of I called."

He said he's struggled to get an appointment, or to even find a site near his own neighborhood that was administering the vaccine.

"Other neighborhoods were getting it and my neighborhood wasn't getting it," he said. "It started to occur to me, why was my neighborhood not getting it as equally as the other neighborhoods?"

Wednesday's pop-up vaccine clinic was the first of its kind, but it likely won't be the last. How many they'll be able to do will depend on supplies Cincinnati receives from the state, but the Health Department said it plans to do more. Everyone who received their vaccine on Wednesday will be back for a second dose in three weeks.