March 2021

Mayor Ginther Gets COVID-19 Vaccine As Clinics Pop Up Around Columbus

Courtesy of WOSU
By Nick Evans
March 19, 2021

Mayor Andrew Ginther pulled into the Celeste Center at the Ohio State Fairgrounds a bit after noon Friday. The 60,000-square-foot expo floor has been split into lanes so people can drive through to get tested or vaccinated for COVID-19.

At the second station, a woman ran through the standard questionnaire with Ginther: Are you feeling sick? Have you received the vaccine before? Any allergies? And on down the line.

“O.K., you passed,” she said with a grin. A man in a puffy Columbus Fire jacket started swabbing up Ginther’s arm.

Afterward, Ginther joked he had “never been more excited about being over the age of 40,” and encouraged others to get vaccinated. Ohio officially expanded eligibility to all residents 40 and up on Friday, along with patients with cancer, obesity and other conditions.

“Get out there, get vaccinated if you haven’t,” Ginter said. “It’s safe, we know it’s effective, and it’s the best thing we can do.”

All Ohioans over the age of 16 will become eligible for the vaccine on March 29.

The drive-through vaccination clinic in the Celeste Center at the Ohio Fairgrounds. CREDIT NICK EVANS / WOSU

While vaccinations are ramping up around Ohio, they’re still lagging among communities of color. Columbus Urban League president Stephanie Hightower says her targeted neighborhood clinic could help with that.

Over the weekend they’ll host a clinic for the King-Lincoln Bronzeville neighborhood in the Urban League parking lot.

“Basically, they can drive they can walk, take the bus, however or whatever mode of transportation you need to get here,” Hightower says. “Also we’re doing it not during the week, not during 9-4 when working people can’t get to the vaccine.”

Hightower says people can call the Urban League at 614-257-6300 to get registered for the Sunday vaccine drive. The event is specifically for residents who live in the 43203 and 43205 zip codes.

This weekend, the Urban League is partnering with Equitas Health, which will be providing 80 doses of the Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine. Next weekend, Hightower says they’re working with OhioHealth to provide 300 doses, but it’s not clear yet which brand of vaccine will be available for that vaccination drive.

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