Cincinnati Metro Offers Free Rides to COVID-19 Vaccine Pop-Up Clinic at Cintas Center

The clinic will have approximately 25,000 first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine on hand.

click to enlarge Cintas Center - Photo: cintascenter.com
Photo: cintascenter.com
Cintas Center

If you have one of the coveted appointments for the COVID-19 vaccination pop-up clinic this week, Metro wants to help you get there.

Metro and Access paratransit service will provide free rides on all routes each day of the state-sponsored vaccination event, which is scheduled for March 18, 19 and 20 at Cintas Center and some Kroger locations.

Metro will also run a free shuttle service transporting riders from three designated bus stops to the main entrance of the Cintas Center 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on those dates. The shuttle service will pick up from Metro bus stops located at Montgomery & Dana and Woodburn & Dana in addition to making stops at the Xavier University parking lot C-2 and their overflow parking lot.

The Cintas Center is served by Metro Rts. 4, 31, 51 and Metro*Plus.

“Metro is excited to be able to do our part in helping ensure all eligible populations have equal access to vaccination sites,” Darryl Haley, Metro CEO & general manager, says in a press release. “By providing free transportation, we can eliminate one hurdle for those who want to receive the vaccine, but may not own a vehicle or live near a vaccination site.”

Approximately 25,000 Pfizer vaccines will be available at the pop-up clinic at Cintas Center and at some Kroger stores located in Cincinnati communities that are disproportionately impacted by the virus. The vaccines are available to Ohio residents who are eligible for vaccination according to the state’s phased plan.

As of March 11, Ohio is in Phase 1D and Phase 2B of its vaccine rollout. Phase 1D brings in people with medical conditions that were not included in previous phases, such as type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease. Phase 2B brings in Ohioans who are age 50 and older.

Beginning March 19, the state will move into Phases 1E and 2C, which will add people who are age 40 and older and people with specified medical conditions. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said on March 16 that all Ohioans will be eligible for vaccination beginning March 29.

The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine. To be fully vaccinated, a person should receive the doses 21 days apart, the CDC says. The vaccine takes about two weeks after the second dose to kick in. The CDC recommends that those who are fully vaccinated continue following safety protocols like masking and avoiding crowds when in public until a larger percentage of the region and nation can get vaccines.

The vaccination pop-up at Cintas Center, 1624 Herald Ave. in Norwood, will be operated by Kroger in cooperation with Cincinnati Public Health, Hamilton County Public Health, and the Health Collaborative. The clinic will offer approximately 10,000 first doses and 10,000 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Cincinnatians who receive their first dose of vaccine at the pop-up will be guaranteed their second dose at the same site a few weeks later. The second dose will be administered at another pop-up clinic April 9, 10 and 11.

The supply for the pop-up clinic comes from a reallocation of unused doses that were originally earmarked for long-term care facilities throughout the Buckeye State.

Most appointments for the pop-up clinic are booked as of Wednesday morning, but some spots may open as the event draws near.

As CityBeat previously reported, Cincinnati also will get a long-term mass-vaccination site soon. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced March 5 that 15 permanent mass-vaccination sites will open this month around the state, including in Cincinnati. The new clinics will be able to administer 300-3,000 vaccines per day, depending on the location, supply and demand. The clinics will open as more vaccine supply becomes available and will remain in place until they are no longer needed, the governor says.

The vaccination pop-up at Cintas Center will be operated by Kroger in cooperation with Cincinnati Public Health, Hamilton County Public Health, and the Health Collaborative.

Metro is offering its free rides in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health, Ohio Department of Transportation, City of Cincinnati, Hamilton County and the Health Collaborative. Rides are funded through a new “Rides for Community Immunity” program announced by the Ohio Department of Transportation, which is offering $7 million in funding distributed across Ohio’s 88 counties to help get the state’s most vulnerable populations transportation to vaccine locations.

Learn about Ohio’s coronavirus vaccine efforts at coronavirus.ohio.gov.

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