LISBON, Ohio (WKBN) – As more age groups are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, some health departments are having to change their plans. They are trying to get as many of the most vulnerable vaccinated first.
It’s clear many people want to be vaccinated, and the Columbiana County Health District knows this.
But they are still trying to make sure as many people from the previous groups get theirs.
“We’re just trying to encourage the people that are calling to realize if you are 65, maybe call one of the other places to get you in,” said Laura Fauss, public information officer for the Columbiana County Health District. “We’re really trying to get that high-priority group.”
It’s become a rush as each age group’s turn comes up. Ohio Governor Mike Dewine is stopping at 65 and above for now, which could help the health district catch up.
“Right now, the population that is available to be vaccinated is really high, and the vaccine we have available is very low,” Fauss said. “We need some time. We need to pause so we can get everybody vaccinated.”
Over 20,000 people are over the ages of 65 in the county. As for how long that might take to get those vaccinated is still unknown.
“We don’t know how much vaccine we’re going to get until a few days before the following week. Usually, mid-week we know how much vaccine we’re going to get for the following week,” Fauss said. “It’s hard to plan ahead of time when we’re not sure how much we’re going to receive.”
Distribution sites aren’t the issue. The Ohio Department of Health determines how much each county gets.
“We report to the state how much we vaccinated. We have to enter all the vaccination records into the state database. They pull that information, and they go from there. We’re not able to adjust it on our end,” Fauss said.
There are about 14 distribution sites in the county, and they hope to add six more if they get more vaccines.