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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Paul Brown Stadium To Serve As Mass Vaccination Site Starting Sunday

Cory Sharber
Paul Brown Stadium will administer 5,000 doses this weekend. Local leaders continue to encourage the community to get vaccinated.

Paul Brown Stadium opens Sunday as a mass vaccination site for the region's second 'Get Out The Vax' weekend.

Roughly 5,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses will be available. So far, at least 1,000 appointments have been booked. Vaccinations will be provided by the Cincinnati Health Department from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome.

Roughly 45% of the population 16 and over received at least one dose. Kate Schroder is the regional vaccine coordinator with the Health Collaborative. She says vaccine hesitancy is trending downward, but there is a gap with vaccination rates amongst minority groups.

"It's consistent around the state and country, even where the vaccination rates are not as high with minority communities as they are among those who are white, and that is our responsibility as a community to make it accessible," Schroder said.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, the statewide vaccination rate for white people is at 36.76%, while the rate for African Americans is 21.46%. The rate for Hispanic and Latino populations is 23.76%. Meanwhile, the rate for Asians is 44.62%.

The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio is offering vaccinations at its headquarters in Avondale to combat vaccine hesitancy amongst minority groups. Doses are administered at the headquarters from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. For more information about ULGSO's vaccinations, text "VACCINE" to 797979.

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus says it wasn't long ago discussions revolved around vaccine scarcity, but now there's enough for everyone.

"You are not more than 10 minutes away from a vaccine in Hamilton County no matter where you live, so now is the time to get a vaccine," Driehaus said.

Roughly 39% of Hamilton County's population has received at least one dose.

Free Metro and TANK rides are available for the Get Out the Vax weekends, as well as free Lyft rides.

Get Out the Vax is a regional public health initiative working to help 80% of Greater Cincinnati residents get vaccinated by the Fourth of July. To set up an appointment, click here.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.