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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Trusted Relationships Aid Vaccination Success with Underserved Populations

a photo of a black person's arm receiving a vaccine
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Vaccinating racial and ethnic minorities has been a priority, because COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted these communities.

Health centers that serve low-income communities are more successful at getting people vaccinated against COVID-19. That’s according to a local health improvement collaborative that gathered data from four counties—Summit, Cuyahoga, Ashtabula and Lake.

According to data from Better Health Partnership from March to May, Federally Qualified Health Centers have vaccinated 15% more African Americans, 13% more Latino or Hispanic Americans and 6% more Asian Americans than other county providers.

Better Health Partnership community impact lead Kirstin Craciun says this is due to pre-existing relationships health centers had with these communities.

“I think because of some of the trust that they’ve established and also those relationships that they’ve established with other partners, those have really enabled them to be effective in reaching those target communities.”

Better Health Partnership will soon be offering $100 Visa gift cards at these health centers in Cuyahoga County as part of a vaccine incentive program funded by the Greater Cleveland COVID-19 Rapid Response Fund.

Craciun hopes the incentive program will improve the health centers' already high success rate.

FQHC's receive grant to boost vaccination rates
Kirstin Craciun talks about the effort

“The communities that the FQHCs serve are primarily in low-income communities, and they also serve a high proportion of racial and ethnic minorities, so that would be our hope – to boost vaccination rates among these groups.”

Better Health Partnership is continuing to partner with other providers to combat vaccine hesitancy in these underserved populations.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media.