Vaccine equity goal: leave no one behind

Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday said his expansion of the age range for coronavirus vaccine eligibility will have one added benefit that some people may not have thought of, it will help bring the vaccine to more minority groups around the state.

“Frankly, you have a bigger percentage of the minority population. Fact is, sadly, tragically, that life expectancy among our minority population is less,” DeWine said.

It came as he toured a vaccination clinic at Ohio State University in Columbus.

The state passed the two million mark for vaccinations Tuesday, but the number of African-Americans statewide was only 122,192, far less that most other groups statewide. DeWine is hoping that the number will increase dramatically once mass vaccination sites open around the state in the coming weeks. They are expected to offer up to 6,000 doses in a single day at multiple locations. No specific dates have been set yet for the Miami Valley, but DeWine expects those mass clinics to come in late March or early April.

Meanwhile Public Health Dayton/Montgomery County continues to reach out to minority communities to encourage people to get the vaccine.

“Just to make sure that we don’t leave anybody behind in this as we dig ourselves out from this COVID-19 crisis,” said Fabrice Juin of PHDMC.

Juin said the agency is working with community groups, pastors, doctors, and on a neighbor-to-neighbor basis to spread the word on the vaccine. They held a vaccination clinic Monday at Bethesda Temple on Salem Avenue in Harrison Township.

“Montgomery County is making progress but the biggest piece of that we’re waiting on is an increase of supply so we could push the vaccine out a little bit more,” Juin said.

DeWine Tuesday, on the tour of the Ohio State clinic, said he is hopeful vaccine shipments to Ohio will increase enough to ramp up delivery to clinics to meet demand.