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'100 Sistas Against COVID-19' initiative working to encourage vaccinations among Black community

Removing barriers and providing accurate information is part of a new push to get more people in the Black community vaccinated in northwest Ohio.

TOLEDO, Ohio — There's a new push to get more people vaccinated in the community and it's by a group called "100 Sistas Against COVID-19."

"We want to live to see another day, we want to fight this virus and we can do it if we all get vaccinated," said President and CEO at the Area Office on Aging, Billie Johnson.

Removing barriers and providing accurate information is part of a new push to get more people in the Black community vaccinated.

The group is made up of Black female leaders in our community who have come together to try and get more women and African Americans to get the vaccine.

They say it all starts with you.

"Let's fight this disease. Let's kill it. And the only way we can do it is by practicing social distancing, washing our hands, getting the vaccine," Johnson said.

In Lucas County, only 28-percent of the African American population is vaccinated.

It's a number that has Black women in our community worried, especially as case numbers are rising with the highly-transmissible delta variant.

So, a new push is underway to help convince people who look like them to get the shot.

"What better way to send this message than to gather 100 African American women in this community to send a loud message that we want you to consider getting this vaccine?"  Lucas County Children's Services Director Robin Reese said. 

The goal is to get anyone who hasn't been vaccinated to do it. Then, they have to convince five other people they know to get the shot.

But giving people data and numbers doesn't always convince them, although stories might. That's what it took for Olivia McGowan to roll up her sleeve.

"I believe it is important to get it now. So, before where I felt like it was wrong or the vaccine was made too fast, I have a completely different outlook on it," McGowan said. "I believe it is the best way to save a lot of different people from getting COVID-19 and passing away from it".

The group says this message is important to spread because many people in the community don't have access to healthcare or aren't receiving the information they need to make an informed decision.