Federally qualified health center in Cleveland focused on offering vaccine to communities hit hard by COVID-19

Federally qualified health center in Cleveland focused on offering vaccine to communities hit hard by COVID-19

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - As more people receive the COVID-19 vaccine, there’s a push to vaccinate the most vulnerable. The most vulnerable in Cleveland include communities that were hit hard by the virus last year, the elderly, as well as people in the Black and Latin-X communities and refugees.

The vaccine delivered to Northeast Ohio is a shot in the arm that hopefully will provide a light at the end of the tunnel in this COVID-19 Pandemic.

At Neighborhood Family Practice on Ridge Road in the city, they’re focused on the diverse west side community they serve.

91-year-old John Tolls of Cleveland took the vaccine like a champ, his grandson who came with him saying now he won’t worry as much.

Tolls believes everyone should get the vaccine, “I think we need to as a nation get together and take care of this. Hopefully, that gets us on our way to get well. As a nation get well with this problem.”

As public vaccines were given for the first time his week, the most vulnerable in the age category were first on the list.

80-year-old Kathleen Hough says the process at this federally qualified health center was easy and efficient, “If everybody did what they’re supposed to do somehow we could get over this probably a little faster.”

A total of 400 people were vaccinated in three days at the Neighborhood Family Practice on Ridge Road, including Clevelanders from the Black, Latin X and refugee communities, according to Doctor Chad Garven, the Associate Medical Director for Neighborhood Family Practice.

“We’ve also been doing a lot of COVID testing at one of our other sites here, and what we absolutely found is that the vulnerable populations we care for was one of the hardest-hit most of the summer and into the all. The minute we had the vaccine we had to get ahead o that because congregate living, high-density family situations are completely one of the risk factors for [the] spread of the COVID virus,” Dr. Garven said.

The health center will hold two more clinics on Monday and Tuesday by appointment only.

Doctor Garven tells 19 News, “This is the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been hoping for.”

He also points out that ironically, for those who received the shot on this day and will receive a second vaccination in about a month - the vaccine is expected to become fully effective around the anniversary of when the pandemic began last year.

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