YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was back in Youngstown Thursday morning, urging everyone who’s eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine to roll up their sleeve. This time, his plea comes with a new program introduced by the mayor.
He toured the Covelli Centre downtown with Mayor Tito Brown. It’s one of the vaccination sites in the area.
After the tour, the two held a press conference, which was scheduled to start at 10 a.m. You can watch the full conference above.
More than 23,000 people have received vaccinations against COVID-19 just in the city of Youngstown.
Across Mahoning County, more than 38% of the population has already had one dose of the vaccine, but officials are saying that it’s not enough.
Thursday morning, Mayor Tito Brown announced a new program, providing residents with one number to call to not only get vaccinated but also to arrange for a ride to a shot clinic, like the one being held at the Covelli Centre.
“This journey is going to be long, but we want to make sure we are actively engaged,” Mayor Tito Brown said. “That’s why I thank the governor for coming today and wanted to introduce this to our community, and we’ll have fliers out. You’ll see door hangers out. We will come out into the community because we’re not going to wait for them to come to us. We’ve got to go out into the community.”
Thanks to money from local foundations such as Mercy Health and grants from the state, those residents needing help, especially those in minority neighborhoods, will be offered free transportation to and from vaccination sites.
“We, me and my team, hit the neighborhoods passing out flyers, inviting everyone to come, so we will pick you up,” said Andrea Mahone of Mahoning County Vaccination.
While city health directors are working with local churches to offer vaccinations to their congregations, the county’s regional clinic in Boardman still has close to 700 openings for its event Friday.
“So, we’re encouraging individuals to sign up to get vaccinated. It’s the Moderna vaccine, and we’re also offering walk-in appointments,” said Ryan Tekac of Mahoning County Public Health.
Officials admit there are those who are still hesitant about getting a vaccination, or simply don’t want one.
“What’s in it for me to get vaccinated? I think that’s the case we need to make and that’s to everyone who hasn’t received the vaccines,” said Dr. James Kravec of Mercy Health.
Coinciding with Thursday’s announcement from the mayor, DeWine and his wife Fran made a visit to the Covelli Centre, meeting and greeting those getting their first doses of the Moderna vaccine.
DeWIne says, while the state is nearing 40% of Ohioans having received at least one dose of vaccine, there are still far too many who have not.
“For those who’ve not been vaccinated, this is probably a most dangerous period of time because of this very active variant that is out there,” DeWine said.
DeWine also says the more people receiving vaccinations means there are that many fewer who can spread the virus to others around them.