Governor DeWine today outlined steps that Ohio has taken and will take to address inequities in healthcare as they relate to vaccine accessibility.
“There are Ohioans who simply do not have equal access to healthcare,” said Governor DeWine. “We have worked hard to address these gaps, especially in our efforts to roll out the vaccine, but there is still more to do.”
Geography: Instead of offering the “mega vaccination sites” being seen in other states, Ohio’s vaccination plan focuses on ensuring that there are multiple vaccine providers in every county in the state. This week, more than 700 providers across Ohio are receiving the vaccine to help ensure that Ohioans have access to vaccine close to home.
Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs): These health centers serve highly vulnerable neighborhoods. Ohio’s vaccination plan offers vaccines at these facilities for equitable distribution. More than 60 of these centers are receiving vaccine this week.
Pop-up Vaccine Sites: Ohio is working with FQHCs, faith-based communities, and local health departments to pilot pop-up vaccination sites in at-risk communities. Two sites were hosted at an FQHC in Columbus last week and another pop-up vaccination site is scheduled this week in Cleveland.
Transportation: The Ohio Department of Health is working with the Ohio Department of Medicaid to provide transportation options for those who want to receive the vaccine but face transportation barriers.
Local Health Departments: Many local health departments are prioritizing underserved populations by partnering with organizations that work to serve African American, Hispanic and Latino, and other underserved populations to provide education and offer opportunities for vaccination when vaccine becomes available.
Education and Communication Strategies: In addition to newspaper, television, and radio advertisements focused on reaching underserved populations, Ohio will also launch a series of virtual town hall meetings to gain a better understanding of the barriers to vaccination and develop solutions. The events will be coordinated in partnership with Ohio’s Minority Health Vaccine Advisory Group, whose mission is to help advise the Ohio Department of Health on how to best deliver the vaccine to underserved populations and better ensure equity. The townhalls will be live-streamed during the week of February 22. To learn how to participate in these events, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Affordable Housing Vaccination Clinics: Next week, the Ohio Department of Aging, in partnership with key state and local organizations, will offer on-site vaccination clinics at affordable senior housing communities as part of its Regional Rapid Response Program. On-site clinics will be coordinated with support from the Ohio National Guard.