COVID-19 vaccinations rates range widely around region: Where they stand

Hospitals recommended to require immunization; unclear how many will create mandates.

Credit: Submitted

Credit: Submitted

Some of the latest efforts to get more of the Miami Valley vaccinated against COVID-19 includes $100 gift cards for people with Medicaid and more workplaces requiring the shots.

The highly contagious delta variant has been driving an increase in spread and hospitalizations in Ohio. Health officials have both shared concern over the risk the variant poses and emphasized the community has the tools needed to stop it.

Ohio recorded 1,769 COVID-19 cases in the last day, according to the Ohio Department of Health. It is the highest number of daily cases the state’s recorded in the last three weeks and the sixth time more than a thousand cases have been reported in the last eight days.

In the last 21 days, Ohio is averaging 855 cases a day, according to ODH. In the last seven days, Ohio is averaging 1,262 cases a day.

Just under half of Ohioans, including more than 80% of those 65 and older, are vaccinated against COVID-19. Vaccinated people who still contract the virus are far less likely to get hospitalized or even get symptoms, but some still do carry and pass the virus on to others.

In Butler County, about 47% percent of people are vaccinated. That number has now reached more than 181,000.

Ohio hospitals employ about 251,000 and on Tuesday, the Ohio Hospital Association recommended the organizations independent adopt policies requiring workers get COVID-19 vaccines.

This doesn’t mean all hospitals will adopt a vaccine requirement, and the association recommended local factors determine whether, how and when such policies are implemented.

Vaccination rates are uneven around the state.

Ohio nursing homes reported anywhere from nearly 1% to nearly 100% of staff as vaccinated. Local counties reported rates ranging from 54% to 32% of residents with at least one dose.

About 1 in 4 Ohioans covered by Medicaid are vaccinated which is about half the rate of the general population.

The Journal-News previously reported that Ohio Medicaid members were more likely to say they were masking and social distancing during the pandemic and the low vaccination rate stems from a range of access and information barriers.

CareSource and the other insurers who manage Medicaid policies are offering $100 gift cards, up from originally offering $50 gift cards, as well as other incentives to encourage more immunization. They are also working with pharmacists to give vaccine information and on-demand vaccination.

“We have found that is probably where we’re going to have the biggest opportunity for the largest number to get vaccinated,” said Dr. Dale Block, CareSource’s chief medical officer for Ohio.

The vaccinations given out so far have helped blunt the spread of the delta variant, and many of the local clinics were only possible through volunteers who turned out to help their local residents.

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