• Sat. Jan 28th, 2023

Less than 5% have been vaccinated.

By Dennis Willard

Herald Contributor

Image provided by BlackPressUSA

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation is calling on Gov. Mike DeWine to specifically define ways his administration will address the problem that Black Ohioans are being systematically denied access to COVID-19 vaccines.

“We need to bust this myth that a lack of trust is the root of the problem. Racism is the root cause of the vaccine not being distributed timely to save lives to people of color in Ohio. This is the perfect opportunity for Gov. Mike DeWine to step up, reaffirm his belief that racism is a public health crisis and take the emergency steps to confront COVID-19 for Black Ohioans,” said Barbara Sykes, President and CEO of the OLBC Foundation. “Less than five percent of Black Ohioans have been vaccinated to date. We are calling on Gov. DeWine to make vaccinating Black people a priority. Stop blaming the victims.”

“Six weeks have elapsed and Gov. DeWine’s administration has done very little to address the technological, site and priority problems plaguing the system. Black people make up nearly 20 percent of the COVID-19 hospitalizations, 12 percent of the deaths and yet less than five percent have been vaccinated. There’s something totally wrong with this deadly picture,” said Petee Talley, Vice-Chair of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation.

Nationally, about 5.6 percent of Blacks have been vaccinated.

The OLBC Foundation is asking Gov. DeWine to address the following systemic problems in the COVID-19 vaccination program:

* Technology – Black Ohioans need more access to computers and the Internet and the wait times online must be shorter. Sitting on line for hours and hours is not getting the job done.

* Location – Vaccines are being given in pharmacies and grocery stores and the Black communities are woefully food deserts and the pharmacies are outside our communities. There have to be better ways to meet Black Ohioans where they live.

* Priorities – There has been no real effort or focus on getting the vaccine to the most disproportionately affected population. The administration cannot make the wolf cry of “distrust” in the Black communities when Ohioans have yet to have access to the vaccine.

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Foundation strives to be the pre-eminent hub for non-partisan analysis examining the impact of public policy on African American communities.