A Springfield Business Owner Is Helping Her Community Get Vaccinated
'There’s a lot of distrust when it comes to minorities and health'
Ohio Department of Health data shows only around 7.5 percent of Black Ohioans have received even one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This compares to almost sixteen percent of the white population. A Springfield business owner is doing her part to get more Black community members vaccinated.
Patty Gentry-Young is the owner of Young Hair salon in Springfield, Ohio. She’s also the President of Sisters United for Prevention. It’s an organization that works to prevent cancer in women of color. Patty’s been in the hair-care business for more than 40 years.
A few weeks ago Patty scheduled her COVID-19 vaccination with the Clark County Combined Health District. The woman who scheduled her appointment told her that the county was struggling to get people of color vaccinated.
“She asked me ‘Are you Patty Young that has the salon?’ And I said yes and she says ‘I need your help’. She let me know there is a problem with minorities registering and actually receiving the vaccine. And could I help her?”
Patty’s sister, Deborah Woods, works at the salon’s front desk. Deborah’s also the president of the Springfield chapter of the National Council of Negro Women. She’s gotten dozens of calls from people trying to get vaccinated..
“When they hear about me then somebody else is calling," she says. "And so that’s how I’ve been getting so many people scheduled is mainly word of mouth.”
Patty says she’s finding that there are two major barriers to getting people vaccinated. Some of the people she’s talked to have had trouble getting scheduled for their shots because of the limited vaccine supply. But, Patty says there’s also a history of Black people being treated unethically by researchers in the medical field.
“There’s a lot of distrust when it comes to minorities and health," she says. "They needed us, people of color, to help convince minorities to get the vaccine.”
Patty says when the pandemic is over, she looks forward to spending time with her family; especially her seven month-old great-grandson.
“I would like to not have to worry when I get to hold him. I’d like to not have that worry," she says. "Our family usually gets together on holidays. We can’t get together and it’s been almost a year.”
So far, the Young sisters’ efforts have paid off. Thanks to them, over a hundred and thirty people have made appointments to get their COVID-19 vaccine. Some have called from as far away as Columbus.