As Vaccination Efforts Hits New Phase, Sen. Brown Visits Youngstown Site

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, finally made it to Youngstown this week, his first visit since the pandemic started. 

Brown stopped by Covelli Centre Thursday to see how the Youngstown City Health District was handling its vaccination efforts. While there, he talked to vaccine recipients,city  officials and members of the Ohio Army National Guard.

“There’s no question, this vaccine is safe. There’s no question, this vaccine is effective,” he said. “We will never get our economy back and operating on all cylinders until we get close to everybody vaccinated. That’s our mission.”

The United States has seen a decrease in demand for the vaccine over the last month. Ohio and Youngstown have also seen decreased numbers at vaccination sites.

Erin Bishop, city health commissioner, said 75 people were scheduled to receive a shot at Covelli Centre on Thursday. The decrease in vaccine demand coincides with the leveling off of case numbers locally and statewide. Bishop said the city health department has put 126,000 shots in arms over the last three months.

“We were getting clinics with about 800 people. Now we’re down to, today, about 75, which for us is a celebration,” Bishop said. “But we’re going to keep on getting out there.”

With national figures suggesting that those ready and willing to get vaccinated have done so – or will soon – the attention now is on convincing people still on the fence to get their shots. Bishop said the key is for family and friends to use their experience to inform members of the community that have yet to receive the shot.

“We need to continue to tell stories,” Brown said. “Family members, friends. People trust their pastor, their doctor, their nurse, their cousin, their spouse more than they’re even going to trust the mayor or me or the health commissioner.”

Brown also addressed the increased demand for workers now that businesses have reopened. He said the worker shortage is a combination of factors, from low pay to parents electing to stay home due to a lack of child care.

“Most of the people who have left the workplace are female because their children were home and they couldn’t find daycare or their kids are small and they couldn’t find good daycare,” Brown said. “So much of this is the failure of Washington that we’re beginning to fix now.”

Brown said he doesn’t think there will be a nationwide requirement to receive the vaccine. He said America is split into three categories: those who want the vaccine, those who are hesitant to receive it, and those who won’t get it.

“There’s some people in the media that continue to talk it down, that lie about it, that make up stories to scare people,” Brown said. “And most people I know that haven’t gotten vaccines have some fear about it.”

Brown believes that once the fear  subsides, the vaccination effort will start to reach that uncertain group of America.

“The way to do this is to continue the public efforts, continue to tell people’s stories,” he  said.

Pictured: U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown talks with a patient at the Youngstown City Health District’s vaccination clinic at the Covelli Centre Thursday.

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.