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Government & Politics

Help Available to Schedule Wolstein Vaccine Appointments at Libraries

a photo of a FEMA worker helping schedule a COVID-19 vaccination in Cleveland
Cuyahoga County Public Library
A FEMA staff member assists a county resident with scheduling a Wolstein Center mass vaccination clinic appointment at the Parma branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library on Friday, March 19, 2021. FEMA staff will be at several library branches this week to help residents sign up for the clinic online.

More than 31,000 people have already received a COVID-19 vaccine at the Wolstein Center mass vaccination clinic in Cleveland, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday.

The site is in its second week of operation, and more appointments may open soon. Sometimes people have to refresh the site or check back at a different time to see if any slots have opened.

But for people who do not have computer access or the internet bandwidth to do so, another option might be to visit one of the local libraries this week.

Staff members from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), one of the agencies running the mass clinic, will be stationed at several branches of the Cuyahoga County Public Library and a branch of the Cleveland Public Library to assist individuals with signing up online, library officials said.

The service is open to anyone in the county, but specifically geared toward marginalized communities in the area, said Cuyahoga County Public Library communications director Hallie Rich.

“Individuals who have maybe been shut out because they don’t have the computer, they don’t have the reliable broadband, they’re able to come, they’re able to work with a FEMA rep to find an appointment [and] make an appointment,” Rich said.

Each week, some appointments for the Wolstein clinic are held back from the public and specifically designated toward underserved populations in the area, DeWine said at a previous press briefing.

These are the appointments being scheduled at the libraries and other community sites, Rich said.

“The FEMA reps have access to those reserved appointments, and we’re hoping that in the branches where we have them located, they’re connecting with that particular community,” she added.

The scheduling services are available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Brooklyn, Maple Heights and South Euclid locations Tuesday and Thursday, and the Garfield Heights, Parma and Warrensville Heights branches Wednesday, Rich said.

FEMA’s services at the library branches are scheduled to continue through Thursday but may continue into next week if there is interest from the public and capacity, she added.

“The service … has been going really well. It’s been very popular,” Rich said.

The sign-up service started March 19, and Rich estimates hundreds have made appointments through the libraries thus far.

"We had some people over the weekend who were able to find an appointment that very day," she said.

FEMA staff will also be stationed at the Rice Branch of the Cleveland Public Library on Shaker Boulevard from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day this week to assist city residents with scheduling a Wolstein appointment online, according to the library system’s website.

Free RTA bus passes will also be available at these select city and county library locations for people needing transportation to the Wolstein Center clinic, Rich said.

"They can get their appointment with the FEMA rep who's at the library, and then head over to the library reference desk and get a bus pass, if they need it, to get there," she said.

In addition, the main Cleveland Public Library location on Superior Avenue is now offering free rapid COVID-19 tests at the drive-up window from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, according to the website.

The tests are BinaxNOW rapid antigen tests and are being offered through the library’s partnership with the Ohio Department of Health.

Individuals can perform the tests at home and download an app to get their results in 15 minutes, according to the website.

The county libraries are not offering these tests yet but officials are assessing the viability of a program like this, Rich said.

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