Recent weeks have seen a scramble of activity locally, all designed to ease the access for Butler County residents, especially the elderly and others less mobile, seeking the vaccine injections.
Thousands have gone through in cars to receive their shots at the county fairgrounds site in Hamilton. And the Butler County Regional Transit Authority and the city of Oxford have partnered to help senior citizens who live within the Talawanda School District receive their COVID-19 vaccination at the Butler County Fairgrounds, where the Butler County General Health District is providing vaccine shots. They can get those shots while on the buses.
County health officials are also launching “strike teams” made up of registered nurses deployed into the community.
“On Tuesdays and Thursdays, they’re going directly to people who would have a hard time getting to the fairgrounds or who just have other kinds of challenges,” said County Health Commissioner Jennifer Bailer.
This outreach program targets vulnerable populations that may face disparities associated with access to receiving the vaccine, she said. Smaller vaccination events occur in churches, community centers and other partner organizations within the county that are located in high to moderately high social vulnerability opportunities.
So far in Butler County, according to the latest data released Tuesday from the Ohio Health Department, 82,463 residents – or 21.5 percent of the population - have received a coronavirus vaccine injection, or one of the first of two shots required.
Caroline McKinney, spokeswoman for Liberty Twp., said local officials were eager to help speed and ease the distribution of vaccines.
“It’s great that our newly vacated fire station can be a temporary vaccine site and appreciate the team at West Chester Hospital for their forward-thinking leadership. Working in collaboration for the greater health of the Liberty/West Chester area is critical during times like these,” said McKinney.
Liberty Twp. Fire Chief Ethan Klussman said the giant garage bay doors on both sides of the old station are ideal for an all-weather, socially distanced drive-thru vaccination site.
“If all goes well, we plan to move out of the old station on Friday and turn that station over to them (West Chester Hospital) on Monday,” said Klussman.
“You can drive right through it (station garage) so even in inclement weather our elderly and our less mobile folks don’t have to get out of their vehicles and there is less exposure … and it will be much quicker and more convenient,” he said.
Staff Writer Michael D. Pitman contributed to this story