Guest opinion: Patience required as COVID-19 vaccination campaign continues
The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine is something we have hoped for and anticipated since the pandemic began. Each vaccine the Summit County Health Department receives is administered the same week it arrives. There are no reserves or stockpiles at the state or local levels due to a national vaccine shortage.
Vaccine allocations are determined at the federal and state levels based on population. Allocations to local health departments are also based on the population of the counties. Currently, we receive an average of 400 vaccines each week. We are prepared to increase the number of doses we deliver each week as soon as we receive higher numbers of vaccine doses.
We are still vaccinating non-hospital health care workers, first responders and school district staff. Based on the current numbers, our projections indicate we will complete vaccinations for these groups sometime in mid-February.
Our state has determined the priorities we are required to follow. It is important for everyone to understand that even if you are now eligible to receive a vaccine per the governor’s directive, you will not receive it immediately. There is a significantly larger number of individuals eligible for the vaccine than the number of vaccine doses we receive from the state each week.
There are approximately 3,500 people over the age of 70 in Summit County who have already registered in our system.
• Following Gov. Cox’s directive, we began scheduling appointments with small groups of individuals over the age of 70 on Monday, Jan. 18.
• These invites go out via email each weekday based on the time and date these individuals registered via phone or on our website.
• We also follow up by phone with those who receive an appointment invitation.
• The people in the 70 and older group that we contact can take any open appointment available.
• The majority of our appointments are booked out three to four weeks.
Currently, the registration system provided by the CDC requires an email address to schedule an appointment. We realize this is a barrier to access for some residents and have dedicated volunteers actively working over the phone to navigate these obstacles. Be assured we will register and provide appointments for every Summit County resident when it is their turn to receive the vaccine.
Until we receive larger shipments of vaccine, we ask our residents to be patient. We understand the fear, anxiety and stress you are feeling while you wait to receive your vaccine. We will continue to provide updates and information as soon as they become available. If you have questions or would like to speak to the county, please contact our Community Concerns Hotline at 435-333-0050.
Tom Fisher is the Summit County manager. Richard Bullough is the Summit County health director.
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