Asian Services in Action (ASIA) Partners with Cove City Church & CDPH for Vaccinations

By Ray Hom

On April 19, Asian Services in Action, Inc. (ASIA) partnered with the Cleveland Department of Public Health (CDPH), Cleveland Department of Aging, and Cove City Church to coordinate a mobile vaccine site. Special thanks to these organizations for providing a much needed safe, efficient and friendly environment for residents to receive vaccinations in AsiaTown.

Through its trusted relationships with Asian community members in Cleveland, ASIA learned that there were hundreds of people who wanted to be vaccinated in a space where ASIA’s bilingual staff could provide language access.

ASIA’s International Community Health Center (ICHC) in Akron is a COVID-19 vaccine provider which operates weekly vaccine clinics. Unfortunately, due to space and capacity limitations, ASIA’s ICHC location in AsiaTown could not be a COVID-19 vaccine provider.

Aware of the need, ASIA contacted CDPH and suggested a pop-up vaccination event to be accessible in the AsiaTown community.  CDPH was happy to provide its vaccination team and the Cleveland Department of Aging provided support for the event. During the planning process, the original venue requested was unavailable and by serendipity, Cove City Church offered its space to CDPH for a pop-up event.

Everything came together, and more than 200 members of the Asian community were vaccinated. Those in attendance ranged in age and many required language translation services. Some came from as far away as Akron, while others were rushing off to work.  Many were not aware of how to make appointments and needed assistance filling out their registration forms. ASIA translated the forms to Simplified Chinese and Nepali to help community members with limited English proficiency.

ASIA recruited an army of volunteers and staff who showed up early to assist with vaccinations. They offered interpreting and translation assistance in Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, Korean, Hmong, Laotian, Ka’Ren, Nepali, and more. The need for Interpreting & Translation Services (ITS) highlights the variations of Asian cultures in Northeast Ohio and the difficulty reaching out to such a diverse community at large.

Cove City Church Pastor Josh Miller realized the importance of reaching out to underserved communities and was willing to re-schedule his Sunday services to open his church to handle the need for vaccinations.

“It was such a privilege to be involved in an event that had such a great impact on the community. Our Cove City community is passionate about serving and we make it our priority. We don’t want to be on sidelines and make excuses, but rather be an alive and moving church that brings life to those around us. One of the greatest resources to a community should be the local church, and we want to live that out,” says Miller.

Without the outreach efforts by ASIA, many of those in attendance would have been unable to make an appointment, know where to go and/or fill out the registration forms due to language barriers to get vaccinated. The goal for ASIA was to provide a safe environment and ITS to underserved community members and immigrant Asian American communities across Northeast Ohio.

About Cove City Church

Cove City Church is a non-denominational church and recently relocated to 2439 St. Clair Avenue, near E. 24th Street just north of Historic Chinatown. Worship times are 10-11 a.m. Cove City’s vision is a place to come home and people to call family. Their mission is simple – Love God and love people.

About ASIA

Asian Services in Action, Inc. (ASIA) is the largest health and human services agency serving the Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI) community of Northeast Ohio. ASIA runs two federally qualified health centers —one in Cleveland and one in Akron — that specialize in linguistically and culturally competent care for immigrants and refugees. ASIA also provides wraparound social services for this community to thrive in Northeast Ohio.

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