Vaccine providers: At 16+, ‘We’re ready’

Here comes the surge. The single largest wave of new people who qualify for the coronavirus vaccine during the pandemic are now looking for appointments to get their shot.

Clinics have been preparing for it for weeks, ever since Gov. Mike DeWine first hinted that he would open the vaccine to all adults.

In Greene County, for example, the county health agency called in additional personnel to staff their clinics this week. Laurie Fox of Greene County Public Health said they are ready for their clinics on Wednesday and Thursday.

“We have enough vaccines. Our clinics are filling up without issue. Its moving along very, very smoothly and we hope it continues that way. So far, so good,” Fox said.

As expected, clinics in Greene County and most other counties around the Miami Valley are full this week. Appointments, though, are available next week. Some providers are already allowing people to sign up for the first full week of April, others will not allow it until the end of this week.

In Logan County, Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott said people have come from all over the state to get their vaccination shot.

“We’ve had people from around the state, including Cleveland,” Hoddinott said. He’s glad to see it so that people can protect themselves from the virus. But he’s equally disappointed that some older people continue to hesitate getting the vaccine.

“We just have got to get everybody vaccinated who wants to and it is a surprise and a little disappointing that our seniors haven’t taken it up like I think they should,” Hoddinott said.

New data released by the Ohio Department of Health indicates so far 3.3 million Ohioans have received at least their first shot. That amounts to 28.4 % of the state’s population.

Among Ohioans age 75 and older 71 % of that age group has been vaccinated. Hoddinott said he would like to see that percentage be much higher.

For parents interested in taking their teenagers to get the vaccine, Greene County Public Health has some reminders.

Spokesperson Laurie Fox said there are special restrictions for teens. “They can only get the Pfizer vaccine, 16 and 17-year-olds,” Fox said, “And they have to have a parent with them at the clinic for consent.”

Some clinics may not post on-line which vaccine is available, so parents may need to contact the provider in advance to make sure the Pfizer vaccine is available. That is the only one that has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use for 16 and 17-year-olds.

Providers say they expect the surge of people seeking the vaccine to last two or three weeks and then taper off to a lower, but still steady demand for most of April.