Vaccination pace picks up, but still slow
The pace of COVID-19 vaccinations in Ohio has picked up in the last week, but the state has vaccinated less than 3 percent of its residents.
The latest data from the Ohio Department of Health shows of the 304,976 total first-dose vaccinations in the state as of Monday morning, 142,034 were given in the last seven days. That’s more than 46.5 percent of total doses in the state during those seven days.
The state started giving first doses of the vaccine — two vaccinations about four weeks apart are needed — on Dec. 14.
But the same data shows that only 2.61 percent of the state’s total population has had at least one dose.
The Mahoning Valley trails the state average. As of Monday, 2.51 percent of the population in Mahoning County (5,744 people), 1.74 percent of Trumbull County’s population (3,448 people) and 2.15 percent of Columbiana County’s population (2,186 people) have received a first dose.
The doses so far have gone to health care workers and personnel routinely involved in the care of COVID-19 patients, emergency medical reponders and those who live and / or work in congregate settings, such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.
That group consists of about 1 million people. About 30 percent eligible for the vaccinations have received it in Ohio.
One issue facing the state is some of those eligible to receive the vaccines are declining to take them.
There have been people who’ve received both doses, but the ODH website continues not to show that number, which is likely very low.
Another ongoing problem is the vaccinations aren’t typically given on weekends. Only 8,367 people received a vaccination between 6 a.m. Sunday and 6 p.m. Monday.
With the state far from getting the first group vaccinated, it plans next Tuesday to start vaccinating those at least 80 years old. That’s about 450,000 people, but the state acknowledged it will have 100,000 doses available that week.
The timeline for the vaccinations was announced by Gov. Mike DeWine last Thursday. But with that rollout starting in a week, there still hasn’t been any information provided in numerous areas, including the Mahoning Valley, about how to sign up for the vaccinations. The ODH website also doesn’t provide any sign-up information.
And that’s just the start of vaccinations for senior citizens and others.
Those at least 75 years of age are eligible to get the vaccine beginning Jan. 25, and 65 years and older Feb. 8.
That second group of people also includes those with congenital diseases and pre-existing conditions and they’ll be eligible to start getting the vaccine Jan. 25.
Also eligible starting Feb. 1 are adult personnel at schools that are open or plan to reopen for in-person learning.
The group of seniors, those with medical conditions and school personnel account for 2.2 million people.
About half of the approximately 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine available to be dispensed to preregistered Tier 1A candidates by the Warren City Health District is expected be given from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. today at W.D. Packard Music Hall. Those in this group include EMS workers, health care workers, and staff and residents of nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and veterans’ homes.
“We expect slightly more than half of the shots to be given and the remainder to be given within the next several weeks,” John May, deputy director of the health district, said.
The Warren Health District is working with the Trumbull County Combined Health District in distribution of the vaccine. This is the second session held in Trumbull county, according to May. Some vaccinations sponsored by Trumbull’s Combined Health District took place Jan. 6 at Kent State University at Trumbull.
“We are working to get shots in the arms,” May said.
The next group to receive the vaccinations, Tier 1B, will include teachers, people older than 65, and people with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders that make them particularly vulnerable to effects of COVID-19, as well as employees at schools that want to return to or continue in-person instruction.
Vaccinations for people in this group will begin in the next several weeks, according to May.
The ODH reported 784,957 total COVID-19 cases in the state as of Monday with 639,080 presumed recovered and 9,702 fatalities.
It is an increase of 7,892 cases, higher than the 7,410 daily average for the past 21 days. That daily average declined a little from the 7,468 average a week ago.
Also, 75 additional people were reported dead Monday from COVID-19, the same as the daily average for the past 21 days. The 75 daily average is down from the 76 average a week ago.
Actual COVID-19 cases and deaths lag behind reported ones, sometimes by as much as a couple of months.
The ODH listed 16,104 total COVID-19 cases Monday in Mahoning County with 13,438 presumed recovered and 325 deaths.
The state reported 11,781 total COVID-19 cases Monday in Trumbull County with 10,064 presumed recovered and 288 deaths, including two reported Monday.
Of the 288 COVID-19 deaths in Trumbull, 136 of them — more than 47 percent — have occurred since Dec. 1.
The ODH listed 6,699 total COVID-19 cases Monday in Columbiana County with 5,563 presumed recovered and 122 deaths.
Also, Youngstown State University reported 33 new COVID-19 cases during the past week with three being employees and 30 students — 22 who live off-campus and eight who live on-campus.