25% of Public Health’s COVID vaccine to go to minority clinics to promote health care equity

Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County is allocating 25% of its COVID-19 vaccines for minority health outreach clinics in an effort to close the vaccination rate gap between white and minority residents.

Black residents make up about 21.5% of Montgomery County’s population but only about 13% of COVID-19 vaccines in the county have gone to Black residents, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Montgomery County is one of the top performing counties in the state for reaching Black residents.

Part of this disparity may be due to a lack of minority health professionals, one of the first groups to qualify for the vaccine in Ohio, said Dan Suffoletto, a spokesman for Public Health.

“We’re trying to get that number up through a variety of means,” Suffoletto said. “We’re doing it because we knew going into it that minorities are particularly challenged in terms of getting access to health care.”

Black Americans are also more hesitant to get the vaccine due to historical mistreatment by the health care system, he said.

Public Health’s next minority outreach vaccination clinic is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, March 8, at Bethesda Temple, 3701 Salem Ave., in Dayton. For this clinic, Public Health has set aside 875 doses for qualifying minority residents only.

Over 3,000 first doses of the two-shot regimen will be available to all Montgomery residents eligible to be vaccinated at clinics held at the Dayton Convention Center on Wednesday and Thursday.

Currently, only residents age 60 and older and those with a qualifying occupation or medical condition are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

To register for a vaccine through Public Health, call 937-225-6217 between 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. during weekdays.

Public Health is working with community leaders and local churches to reach out to different communities and educate them about the vaccine. The agency has been setting up vaccine clinics at churches and in different communities to reach residents who can’t attend vaccine clinics at the Dayton Convention Center and to connect with people in an environment where they feel safe and comfortable.