CLEVELAND (WJW)– As Ohio’s COVID-19 cases tick up, community organizations are continuing to work closely with public health agencies to provide protection against the virus.
Community levels of the virus are still low in almost all of the state, but public health officials are still underscoring the importance of preventative measures.
“We’re working with trusted partners within the communities to hit target populations that we know are lower vax rates,” said Michelle Benko, program director at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
The public health department will be hosting a vaccination clinic in partnership with the Young Latino Network.
“We do know that there are a lot of hesitancies within the Hispanic community so being able to bring the vaccine clinics to the community with those trusted partners is our most important goal,” Benko said.
According to the board of health, 63% of the county has had their first two shots, compared to roughly 50% in the targeted Cleveland zip code.
“This opportunity allows us to meet other Latino, Latinx health professionals in these spaces that are part of our own community,” said Selina Pagan, co-executive director of operations and development at the Young Latino Network.
She said they have actively worked to combat vaccine misinformation and address hesitancy in minority communities.
The vaccinations for these upcoming clinics that start in May come with an incentive called “Dollars for Doses.”
People will get $100 for a first dose, $50 for a second dose, $25 for a booster and $25 for every other person you bring to get vaccinated.
“Trying to eliminate the barriers and the costs that would cost a family of four to go get vaccinated,” Pagan said.
The event is also a fun way to come together.
“We look within ourselves, within our culture right. We feed people, we provide food every single clinic. Free food to the community, we provide live music or music at these events, we provide tons of kids activities.”
All of this, a holistic approach to safeguarding the community.
“We know that things are opening up in the summer and we’re gonna be all outdoors, but the reality is that we have to think proactively about this work, not reactively, which means that we have to prepare what it’s gonna look like when our kids go back to school this fall,” Pagan said.
The events will be on May 21, June 18 and July 16 from noon to 3 p.m. at 3167 Fulton Rd. in Cleveland.