CLEVELAND — As the state of Ohio continues it's efforts to get more residents vaccinated amid the ongoing pandemic, there is one group that has maintained reluctancy --African Americans.
According to the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition only 1 in 6 African Americans have been vaccinated, totaling 22 percent of the African American population in Northeast Ohio.
"Our very lives are at stake. We have been at a far greater risk of contracting COVID-19 through the duration of the pandemic. With the easing of restrictions statewide, the likelihood of disproportionate impact on African American communities increases, not decreases," said Yvonka Hall, Executive Director Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition.
As the executive of Director of a social justice organization dedicated to addressing the impact of racism on African American disparities, Hall is calling on the community to get vaccinated.
"If you have not been vaccinated we want you to get a vaccination The low number of African Americans who have been vaccinated is why we need to get vaccinated," she wrote.
Read the full call to action below:
Our very lives are at stake. We have been at a far greater risk of contracting COVID-19 through the duration of the pandemic. With the easing of restrictions statewide, the likelihood of disproportionate impact on African American communities increases, not decreases. Without more targeted interventions by local and state officials, African Americans are at a far greater risk of dying. African Americans in Northeast Ohio deserve a culturally proficient response to ensure equity at this crucial time. With respect to COVID 19 and efforts to vaccinate, underwhelming efforts are insufficient. Vaccination rates continue to remain low for African Americans in Northeast Ohio due to the lack of input from grass roots organizations that are based in the community. The fierce urgency of now must become the official modus operandi of local and state officials in ramping up outreach efforts. Funding must reach organizations working with at-risk communities.
Funders need to understand that this is their moment to say we care about people, we care about people's lives. At this point, concentrated outreach efforts must concentrate on local institutions central to the core of African American communities. Haste makes waste, waste of precious lives, these efforts have dismissed local organizers for far too long. This is a clear reminder of the inequities that COVID-19 brought to light last year. Funders need to ensure that boots on the ground organizations have the dollars that they need in order to save the lives of community members.
Since African Americans live in communities where they are most likely to interact with other African Americans it is important for them to know that this is not the time to take off their masks. It is important for us as a community to continue to wear a mask, social distance and wash our hands and our children’s hands.
If you have not been vaccinated we want you to get a vaccination The low number of African Americans who have been vaccinated is why we need to get vaccinated This is a call to action for the African American community!
For more information on the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, click here.