Mercy Health employees ready to administer COVID vaccine as production picks up speed


Adding a third vaccine to the mix will hopefully help lessen wait times for people trying to get vaccinated

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The COVID-19 vaccine rollout has faced a lot of backlash. People are frustrated with the process to get an appointment and the shot.

But now, vaccine production could be ramping up, and the Johnson & Johnson one-dose shot is just one step away from becoming widely available.

Vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer told Congress they expect to deliver around 220 million doses by the end of next month.

Mercy Health’s Dr. Jim Kravec calls the news encouraging.

“We need to get to that magic number, whatever it is, the 70-80% of the population vaccinated, and to get there we need to have all the tools we can,” he said.

As that’s happening, Johnson & Johnson is on standby, expecting its shot to start going out within the next week or so, pending FDA approval. It could happen as soon as Friday.

The hope is adding a third vaccine to the mix will help lessen wait times for people trying to get vaccinated.

“More volume and more vaccines in the public, that’s really the right answer at this point,” Dr. Kravec said.

In Ohio, 1.5 million people have gotten their first dose of the vaccine.

Mercy Health has four clinics locally: Youngstown, North Lima, Howland and Warren. They’re constantly busy. Just listen to the numbers in the 1B group…

“We’ve done 17,000 total vaccine administrations, 12,000 unique individuals received the first dose and so far, 5,000 of those have received the second dose,” Dr. Kravec said.

That’s in addition to all of the 1A vaccines health care workers got.

But, it’s a process. The reality is, there are still a lot more people in our community who need to be vaccinated.

“So the news that we will have more supply coming soon is very welcoming to our staff. They’re ready to go and give out those vaccines for sure,” Dr. Kravec said.

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