YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Mahoning County Public Health officials asked for the community’s patience during the COVID-19 vaccination process as officials say they’ve only received 3,075 doses of the vaccine for its next phase of the process.
Health officials held a press conference Thursday afternoon to inform the public on how to obtain the vaccines.
Officials say they’re in Phase 1B of the vaccination process, which is first prioritized for those ages 80 and older. Vaccinations start next week.
Those interested in receiving a vaccine must preregister; no vaccines will be given to walk-in patients.
Preregistration can be done through mahoninghealth.org. The registration will be live on the website at 9 a.m. Friday, according to officials.
A phone number was also provided, but county officials said their phone lines crashed from the high volume of calls. They are working to address the issue and establish a new call center line. The new number should be available some time on Friday, Jan. 15.
Online pre-registration will be available at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 15 at www.mahoninghealth.org.
According to Mahoning County Public Health, its goal is to eventually provide COVID-19 vaccinations to all those who need them.
The city of Youngstown also received 500 doses of the vaccines. Preregistration for those vaccines can be done at covid19.youngstownohio.gov or by calling 330-502-4276.
To register with the city, you should be a city resident. According to City Health Commissioner Erin Bishop, however, they’re taking care of non-city residents who have already registered through the city.
According to Bishop, the city has already received 2,324 preregistrations, most coming from those over the age of 65.
Mercy Health has a couple of locations for community vaccination sites. To schedule an appointment, call 1-866-624-0366. Their hotline is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
These are being done through appointment only, and no walk-ins are allowed. Those applying must meet specific criteria.
For more information, go to www.mercy.com.
Southwoods Health also has its own COVID-19 outreach vaccination program, receiving 200 doses of the vaccine. Appointments are also required for that program.
To schedule an appointment there, call 330-965-5099. Additional information will be provided to people who receive appointments.
Giant Eagle Pharmacy says it will begin scheduling qualified residents as early as Wednesday, Jan. 20. People are encouraged to set appointments on Giant Eagle’s online portal.
Officials say they’re hopeful that they’ll receive more vaccines soon. Vaccines will be given on a first-come, first-served basis to qualifying individuals.
Mahoning County Health Commissioner Ryan Tekac said the vaccines are free to individuals, with or without insurance.
“If perhaps that there’s a chance that there are some doses left over, we do have a long list that was from Phase 1A health care partners that we would work down through and call them to ensure we are not wasting vaccines. We will do the same with Phase 1B. I can guarantee we will have a long list and we can make phone calls towards the end of the day and ensure those vaccines are distributed to someone in Phase 1B,” Tekac said.
Tekac said the vaccine should also be effective against the new variant of COVID-19.
After you get your vaccine, you’ll get a reminder card for your second vaccine. You will also get a call or text the week before your second vaccine to remind you of your appointment 21 or 28 days later, depending on if you get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
You can watch the full press conference in the video above.
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