Minority community leaders helping with appointment access as COVID-19 vaccine eligibility opens up Monday

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — As of Monday, COVID-19 vaccination will be open to all Ohioans 16 and up.

“I’m happy that we’re opening up to everybody, but now we have to make young people recognize that they need to be part of the solution, too,” said Ward 6 Cleveland Councilman Blaine Griffin.

Griffin says increased outreach to minority communities includes pushing out emails and calls daily to the residents he serves to let them know about the appointment codes he has been given to help them register to get the shot at the Wolstein Center.

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“Every council person has specific codes designated to their area and there are also non-profits so that community organizations that you trust will be able to disseminate these codes to you,” he said.

That includes churches and organizations like the NAACP Cleveland Branch and President Danielle Sydnor says they are working with the governor’s office to make sure black people have better access to vaccination.

She says their chapter along with the state and the Urban League of Greater Cleveland are working on more transportation opportunities and mobile vaccination opportunities. 

“I hope that people do take advantage of the fact that now anyone in their household that’s 16 and over has access to be able to take the vaccine,” she said.

The Cleveland Public Library has also been able to get hundreds of these codes and will be able to offer them to the public starting Monday. People can get those by calling or visiting most branches.

Cleveland community leader Larese Purnell hopes opening eligibility leads to a better turnout statewide from African Americans. 

“I’m excited to see our community really have that opportunity to hopefully, you know, raise those numbers of people getting it,” Purnell said.

He is using social media and other platforms to meet young people where they are and educate them about the shot. 

“I truly don’t want to see our community recycle COVID because not everyone around has gotten it,” he said.

As a reminder, those 16 and 17 years old need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian to sign consent forms for the Pfizer vaccine.

If you live in Cleveland and are a Ward 6 resident, you can contact Councilman Griffin’s office at 216-791-8683.

The NAACP Cleveland Branch says they can process code requests quickest by emailing them at clevelandbranchnaacp@gmail.com or by going to their website and using the ‘Contact Us’ form with the subject line ‘Registration Code.’

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