Butler County continues next phase of COVID-19 vaccines, but officials stress more doses are needed

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

As Phase 1B of the coronavirus vaccination continues with members of the general public in certain age groups, the issue of greater demand than available supply will probably grow as younger age groups become eligible, officials said.

Starting this week, those 80 and older in Ohio were eligible to receive either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine. Premier Health, with locations throughout the region, started accepting vaccination appointments last week, and the demand clogged up the phone system and Internet. All of the appointments were taken by Friday afternoon.

The state’s Phase 1B will give vaccines to residents aged 65 and over beginning with those 80 and older the first week and decreasing ages on a schedule. It is the first time residents without certain jobs or living in certain types of facilities received the vaccine.

The next two weeks the age groups drop to 75 and 70, and starting Feb. 8, those 65 and older will be eligible for the vaccine. The challenge will be organizing those who want to receive it and getting enough doses to vaccinate them, officials said.

There are about 383,000 people in Butler County. About 15 percent, or 57,450, are 65 or older, according to the latest Census data. In Warren County, also about 15 percent of residents, or about 35,100 of 234,000, are 65 or older.

Last week, during vaccinations of those in the dental field, Jennifer Bailer, commissioner of the Butler County General Health District, said the county could use 2,000 doses per week. On Wednesday, after hosting a clinic that provided vaccines for more than 150 people aged 80 and older, the health department said it was receiving about 700 doses per week.

The goal, she said, is to administer all the vaccines that are available every week.

Even if the number of vaccines increases, Bailer doesn’t see the health department holding “a mass call.” She prefers appointments that are easier to handle.

Bailer asked that residents “please be patient” as the health department follows Gov. Mike DeWine’s vaccination guidelines.

“We will get to everyone eventually,” she said. “We don’t have the numbers now.”

Atrium Medical Center started vaccinating senior citizens Tuesday with the 100 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 it received from the Warren County Health District. Dr. Anuj Goyal, a pulmonologist at Atrium, said he understands the frustrations some patients are feeling when they can’t get an appointment.

“We’re dependent on hearing from the governor’s office and also from the health care systems in the area when vaccines will be available,” he said. “So, we tell our patients, ‘Stay tuned week to week.’ Any information our office gets, we pass it along to our patients about where they can go.”

DeWine has said the state may have to “pause the numbers.” His top priority, he said, is getting the oldest citizens vaccinated first.

COVID-19 vaccine Phase 1B in Ohio

  • This week: Begin those 80 years and older
  • Week of Jan. 25: Begin those 75 years and older and those with severe congenital or developmental disorders*
  • Week of Feb. 1: Begin those 70 years and older and employees of K-12 schools who wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid models
  • Week of Feb. 8: Begin those 65 years and older

* Disorders list includes cerebral palsy, spina bifida, congenital heart disease, Type 1 diabetes, epilepsy, Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Turner syndrome, severe lung disease, cystic fibrosis, severe asthma, sickle cell anemia and alpha and beta thalassemia.

Source: Ohio Department of Health

In Other News