Frustration mounts as vaccine doses can’t meet demand locally

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — Local public health officials insist that Gov. Mike DeWine putting any new vaccination priority groups in a holding pattern is the right thing to do.

DeWine announced Thursday once the eligible age drops to 65 next week, no new groups will be added for weeks.

Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County told News Center 7′s Mike Campbell its about supply. There are simply not enough doses coming into the state and Montgomery County to keep up with demand.

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Even though the Dayton Convention Center is available for large vaccine clinics, Public Health has only been using it two to three days a week because of the limited supply to distribute.

“That’s an extremely small amount for a very large group,” said Dan Suffoletto, spokesman for Public Health.

When the age group in Phase 1B drops to 65 next week, there will be 95,000 people in Montgomery County eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine. So far, 22,000 in Montgomery County have started their two-shot vaccine program.

“We do have the capacity to provide more service and more ability for people to get the vaccine, it’s just that there is not enough vaccine available for everyone who wants it,” Suffoletto said.

To put that in perspective, since vaccines have been administered around Christmas, 974,586 Ohioans have received at least their first dose. That includes health care workers, first responders and the seniors who have already been eligible to get the vaccine.

Greene County Public Health said the rush to vaccinate the elderly is important.

“This is a critical age group, over 87% of the deaths in the state of Ohio are linked to people in that age category,” said Laurie Fox, spokewoman for Greene County Public Health.

Fox said the county has thousands of people signed up on their waiting list and a little under 7,000 of Greene County’s 28,000 seniors have started the vaccine.

“We want to get people vaccinated as much as they want to get vaccinated, that’s really important to us, really important to us to keep our county safe and healthy,” Fox said.

The weekly scramble to try to book an appointment for vaccine is causing frustration.

“Difficult to impossible to schedule an appointment. Even checking daily, all appointments are full,” said News Center 7 viewer Evelyn Rogers.

Viewer Patricia Ritz said, “Hubby and I are in the 70′s group and try, try, try on-line to get a spot, appointment....NOPE”.

Another viewer, Ron Davis, keep his frustration to one word, “impossible.”

Public Health said they understand the frustration and they too are feeling it.

“A lot of people have signed up to be providers but not all of them are being used because there’s not enough vaccine,” Suffoletto said.

The health department said its a manufacturing issue in getting the millions of doses that Ohio and the Miami Valley needs, but Suffoletto said its a good thing that so many want and are interested in getting the vaccine.

At Montgomery County’s clinic next week they expect to give 450 doses of the vaccine to people.

The Montgomery County Board of Developmental Disabilities also is grateful for DeWine’s plan to hold vaccination groups in Phase 1B.

The organization is desperately trying to vaccinate the 5,000 adults they serve, plus the 3,000 more caregivers that work in congregate settings.

“We’ve already done thousands of people so we’re halfway through those we need to vaccinate,” said Dr. Pamela Combs, superintendent for the board of developmental disabilities.