COVID-19 vaccines ramping up for another large group, are health departments ready?


This includes law enforcement, prison guards and childcare workers to name a few

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Governor Mike Dewine announced Monday his phase 1C for people who can get the COVID-19 vaccine.

This includes law enforcement, prison guards and childcare workers to name a few.

DeWine says now is the right time to add these groups of people because of the number of vaccines coming into the state.

“I believe the time is really right, now, as we have more supply to be able to open up,” said Dr. Jim Kravec, chief medical officer for Mercy Health.

With Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine approved, Ohio will be receiving close to 100,000 doses this week, for a total of nearly 450,000, which is the state’s biggest increase since vaccinations started. But can our local health departments handle it?

“Last week, we saw a slowdown in people reserving doses, at least at our clinic, and at the same time this is happening, today,” said Laura Fauss, public information officer for the Columbiana County Health Department.

Thursday, the same day phase 1C opens up, people 60 and over can also sign up to get the vaccine. This is known as phase 2.

To get a shot at Mercy Health, you can call or use the MyChart app.

Fauss said they aren’t accepting registrations for these new phases until next week.

Trumbull County is going through the state’s website to schedule appointments.

“If people do get a robocall or they get a text or an email, as long as they’re not asking for personal information, those are legitimate,” said Trumbull County Health Director Kris Wilster.

The Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a single-dose shot that many will want to get because of the convenience. Mercy Health expects to get 900 of these vaccines either this week or next. Trumbull County and Columbiana County will get a few hundred as well.

“The total effectiveness of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is a little bit lower than we saw with Moderna and Pfizer, but what we do know is those serious cases, those that require hospitalization and very serious cases of COVID-19, are reduced,” Kravec said.

Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine is 72% effective against moderate to severe cases and 85% effective in preventing severe or critical illness, along with 100% against hospitalizations and death.

Health officials say to get any shot you can.

“Really, we are taking the guidance from the Ohio Department of Health and guidance from the CDC, which really says give out all vaccines. We know they’re all safe and effective,” Kravec said.

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