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Akron NAACP Helps to Connect People of Color with COVID-19 Vaccines

syringe and vile of medicine
Despite the newly opened mass vaccination site at the Summit County Fairgrounds that is providing a closer option for those who wish to be vaccinated for COVID-19, communities of color are still struggling to get vaccinated. The Akron chapter of the NAACP is working to help to overcome the challenges and provide better access to vaccinations.

The head of Akron’s NAACP chapter says communities of color are struggling to get the COVID-19 vaccine because of equity barriers such as transportation and internet access. The organization is working to better connect those communities with the vaccine.

Judi Hill says people of color are still finding vaccines inaccessible, despite the newly opened mass vaccination site at the Summit County Fairgrounds.

“Mass vaccination clinics are really designed for people who have a car, people who have access. Again, something that we know is an issue for people of color and people who don’t have the financial means,” Hill said.

Although 20% of Ohio’s vaccines are supposed to go to people of color, Hill is discouraged vaccination clinics are so far outside of their communities.

“Why can’t we bring it to where the people are?” she said.

The Akron NAACP is working with other community organizations to set up smaller, easier-to-get-to vaccination sites. They’re also helping people without internet access sign up for vaccine appointments.

Hill says the way to sign up for a vaccination is a barrier to many in these communities.

Hill: an issue of access
Judi Hill NAACP.jpg

“We take for granted that everybody has an email address, and they don’t. There are a lot of people who need this vaccine who only have phones they buy at the store,” she said.

Hill says the Akron NAACP has already helped more than 600 people who may not have internet access sign up for appointments.

If you need assistance getting an appointment, you can call the Akron NAACP at 330-573-4986.

Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media. A Northeast Ohio native and lifelong listener of public radio, Abigail started in public radio as a news intern at WKSU. She graduated in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Kent State University.
Andrew Meyer is the Deputy Editor of News at Ideastream Public Media.