Miami Valley churches begin to offer COVID-19 vaccines

MIAMI VALLEY — More churches are joining the ranks of vaccination sites around the Miami Valley.

The expansion comes in response to a plan from Gov. Mike DeWine to move beyond large vaccination venues and make the coronavirus vaccine much more convenient for people to get.

Pastor Carl Ruby of Central Christian Church in Springfield said he’s anxious to bring a clinic to his church.

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“I feel like as Christians, part of the way we love our neighbors is by getting vaccinated. Unless there’s a physical condition that you can’t get vaccinated, I think it’s a duty to our neighbors and a duty to our community,” Ruby said.

Earlier this month, Gov. Mike DeWine opened vaccination clinics to churches, businesses and unions in hopes of tapping into new groups of people who have not been vaccinated yet.

Charles Patterson, Clark County Health Commissioner, supports the move. He said his agency already has experience working with churches on vaccinations.

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“Our initial outreach to the African-American community was through churches. We had embedded schedulers through churches who could get their flocks directly into our clinics. We’ve expanded that now with others where we are actually going to their site,” Patterson said.

So far, well over 4 million people in Ohio have been vaccinated but the state still has a long way to go. That is only 38 percent of the state’s population. Pastor Ruby is hoping to help overcome some people’s hesitancy to get the vaccine, whether it be for political purposes or something else.

“I think that it’s a patriotic thing to do to set aside some of our freedoms for the sake of helping our country get past this,” Ruby said.

Churches, businesses and unions interested in setting up a vaccination clinic at their location are being asked by the DeWine administration to contact local county health agencies.