Hamilton transitioning how it offers vaccines to reach more people

The Butler County General Health District held a drive through COVID-19 vaccination clinic Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at Butler County Fairgrounds in Hamilton. Nearly 75 workers and volunteers administered 1500 vaccines during the event.  NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
The Butler County General Health District held a drive through COVID-19 vaccination clinic Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at Butler County Fairgrounds in Hamilton. Nearly 75 workers and volunteers administered 1500 vaccines during the event. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Hamilton staff is pivoting away from the drive-through COVID-19 vaccination clinics it has been operating each Thursday at the Butler County Fairgrounds, with the final one happening May 13, city Health Commissioner Kay Farrar said.

Instead, the city is moving to a new approach, she said: “We’re seeing a decrease in the number of people who want to do that type of a vaccination clinic (drive-throughs), so we’re going to move on to a different mode,” she said.

The reason for the dip in people signing up could be that people are getting their shots elsewhere, such as pharmacies. Farrar said she fears some of the dip might be because people are hesitant to get the shots.

Here are the new approaches the city will take:

  • Visiting under-served people, such as workers who have difficulty getting to clinics because of their work schedules, such as shift employees. The city already has vaccinated at doctors’ offices, soup kitchens, some businesses and the Booker T. Washington Community Center. The city is reaching out to more businesses and churches, as well as public events, to offer shots.
  • The city on Friday will give shots at Hyde’s Restaurant from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., which Farrar is calling “Pie and Vaccinate Day,” partly because Hyde’s is a haven for older eaters. Hyde’s reached out to the city offering its help, Farrar said. Two booths will be set aside for shots.

So far, city staff and volunteers have given more than 15,000 vaccinations, with about 1,100 people visiting the drive-through clinics each week. Last Thursday, only 220 receiving shots were getting their first doses, with about 950 getting their second.

Tarin Lauer, Audrey Amburgy, and Co-owner Amy Hyde-Klaiber stand with coconut, apple and banana cream pies at Hydes Restaurant in Hamilton on Pi Day, Tuesday, Mar. 14. GREG LYNCH/STAFF
Tarin Lauer, Audrey Amburgy, and Co-owner Amy Hyde-Klaiber stand with coconut, apple and banana cream pies at Hydes Restaurant in Hamilton on Pi Day, Tuesday, Mar. 14. GREG LYNCH/STAFF

Only 21 percent of people in areas of Lindenwald living within the 45015 zip code have been vaccinated, Farrar said. “We’ve actually gone door-to-door and knocked, and had some of our volunteers help people register.”

As of last week, 32.9 percent of people in the county had been vaccinated once, with 19.9 percent fully vaccinated.

Farrar said of residents who are 80 or older, an estimated 71.4 percent have been vaccinated. For those 75-79, the rate was 72.5 percent; and those 70-74, the percent was 76. For those 65-69, the rate was 69 percent.

Vaccination rates dipped from there for younger people.

“We really want to hit that 70-percent-ish coverage to get to that herd immunity,” Farrar said.

The Thursday fairgrounds clinics happen each Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., using sign-up from Hamilton’s website or by calling the city.

Explore‘He was the kind of guy you strived to be’; well-known real estate agent dies at 37 from COVID-19

“We had the PROTOCOL meeting on Monday where we talked to them to try to gather some feedback on a good Lindenwald location,” said city spokesman Brandon Saurber. “We’re going to work to do a pop-up (vaccination site) somewhere there.”

People wanting shots should “keep an eye on our website,” Saurber said. “We’ll be posting all those pop-up clinics and opportunities.”

There have been more than 37,858 COVID cases across Butler County, including 1,245 hospitalizations. At least 572 county residents have died. Hamilton itself has had more than, 5,450 cases, is averaging just over 50 new ones per week, and has seen 138 deaths.

In Other News