COLUMBUS, OH — Today, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) visited Columbus Public Health’s Celeste Center Mass Vaccination Site at the Expo Center & State Fairgrounds. During this visit, Brown met with Columbus Public Health representatives and highlighted the stories of Ohioans who have been vaccinated, and the positive difference vaccines will make for central Ohio families and communities.

The most important thing we can do to defeat this pandemic, get our economy moving again, and get people back to work, school and their lives, is to get everyone vaccinated as soon as possible. That’s what the American Rescue plan is doing – getting shots in the arms of millions of Ohioans,” said Sen. Brown. “We can’t let up now. The more Ohioans who get vaccinated, the more businesses can reopen, the more kids can get back to schools, and the more families will be reunited.”

Brown helped write and pass the American Rescue Plan, which provided billions in federal funding to ramp up vaccine production and distribution to get all Americans vaccinated, and support all Ohioans through the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.

Specifically, the bill included $20 billion for a national, coordinated vaccination program, in partnership with states and localities. This enabled states to launch community vaccination centers around the country and deploy mobile vaccination units to hard-to-reach areas.

It also provided $50 billion for a massive expansion of testing, contact tracing, and genomic sequencing of COVID-19 variants. Columbus Public Health is using $540,000 in federal funding for the Celeste Center Mass Vaccination Site.

The uptick in cases in Ohio is largely a result of the variants of this virus – and Brown believes it’s critical that Ohioans get vaccinated as soon as possible if we do not want our vaccines to be rendered ineffective.

Brown was joined by Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Health Commissioner for the City of Columbus, and Al Edmondson, Owner of A Cut Above The Rest, who discussed the importance of young African American men getting vaccinated.

“Protecting our community during the COVID-19 pandemic has required all hands on deck at the federal, state and local levels,” said Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts. “Vaccinating all residents with safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines protects all of us and will get us to the other side of this pandemic. We appreciate the support of our federal partners so we can reach and vaccinate as many people as possible through Columbus Public Health’s mass vaccination site.”

“We need to be transparent about all the facts regarding the vaccine’s safety and efficacy, In order to have the trust of the community,” said A Cut Above the Rest barbershop owner Al Edmonson.