Vaccines rolled out to schools, Ohioans older than 70

Middletown teachers get Covid-19 vaccines

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Middletown teachers get Covid-19 vaccines

Most vaccine appointments are taken at this time; health officials encourage calling ahead.

School districts and Ohioans 70 and older are now among those eligible to seek a COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio.

The rollout has continued to increase each week to include increasingly more of the general public and as of Sunday afternoon a little more than 7% of Ohioans have received at least one dose.

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This includes just under half of Ohio adults 80 and older having received at least one dose, which is the age group at highest risk from dying from the respiratory virus. More than half of Ohioans who have died since the start of the pandemic have been 80 and older, which at this point is about 5,880 lives lost from that age group.

Wait lists this week remain for many vaccine providers and appointments were quickly snapped up, as they were the weeks prior. Next week, Ohioans 65 and older will be eligible, which is an age group of more than 250,000 residents in this region.

“We’re in no short supply of people who want to be vaccinated, for sure,” said Kim Bramlage, communications manager for Five Rivers Health Centers which is currently has all appointments filled as well as a growing waiting list. They’ve received so many calls, the community health center at Salem and Philadelphia is working on getting an answering service to help.

Bramlage said their weekly supply has been decreasing, down from 600 doses to 100 doses, which is hard because of the demand.

COVID-19 vaccine providers don’t know weeks in advance how much supply they will receive, which makes it hard to schedule and coordinate beyond the short term.

“We hope to get more notification earlier so that three weeks from now we know how many we will have. I think when we get to that point, things will be much better,” Bramlage said.

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On Friday, Ohio K-12 schoolslearned when the teachers and staff needed for in-person learning would be able to begin receiving vaccines. In Montgomery County, about 60 of the county’s 75 schools and districts are working with Kroger Pharmacy, the state’s primary vaccine provider.

About 500 Middletown school teachers and staffers last week became the first district in Ohio to receive the first of two vaccine injections to protect them from contracting the coronavirus.

Chris Brown, superintendent of the Butler County Educational Services Center, said Butler County personnel will receive the vaccination on either Wednesday, Thursday or Friday with an estimated 1,700 vaccinations planned each day.

Gov. Mike DeWine said Friday that the vaccines are incredibly scarce and therefore a rolling process.

“This rollout schedule is a heavy logistical lift that aims to ensure the maximum number of people can be vaccinated in the shortest amount of time,” DeWine said.

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Middletown City Schools employees were some of the first teachers in Ohio to receive their Covid-19 vaccines Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Middletown High School. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Middletown City Schools employees were some of the first teachers in Ohio to receive their Covid-19 vaccines Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Middletown High School. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Combined ShapeCaption
Middletown City Schools employees were some of the first teachers in Ohio to receive their Covid-19 vaccines Wednesday, January 27, 2021 at Middletown High School. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Ohio also is still recruiting medical professionals to volunteer in their local communities to help with administering the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ohio Responds Volunteer Registry is at ohioresponds.odh.ohio.gov.

The vaccine rollout remains urgent, as coronavirus spread improves but remains widespread. Statewide, COVID-19 hospitalization levels have fallen to half of what they were during the height of the aggressive December surge, but are still twice as high as the July peak.

The effects from the vaccine rollout should increasingly show in February and into spring, particularly as all nursing homes in the nine-county region have been offered at least their first vaccine and follow up rounds are underway.

Chip Wilkins, an area long-term care ombudsman, who advocates for nursing home residents, said it’s been discouraging to see the high numbers of nursing home workers declining vaccines for now, because he wants to see the facilities safe to open back up to visitors.

“So I hope that will improve with each passing month,” Wilkins said.

He said he has been working to provide information about how the vaccines are safe and how the vaccination development process went through the needed scrutiny.

ExploreWhat to know, where to go for COVID-19 vaccine signups

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County’s clinic appointments for this week filled quickly. For the department’s upcoming Feb. 10 vaccination clinic for residents 65 years and older, registration information will open at 8:30 a.m. Friday at phdmc.org/vaccine-update.

While some people have been posting photos after receiving their vaccines, Public Health urged people not to post their vaccination card with their second appointment reminder on social media.

“Your vaccination card has your full name and birthday on it, as well as information about where you got your vaccine. You may be giving valuable information away for anyone to use. Please help us protect your private information by not sharing your card on social media,” the department urged.

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