The Columbus and Franklin County public health departments will receive limited doses of COVID-19 vaccine next week to administer to seniors 80 years of age and older.
But the vaccine will also be available through health providers and area pharmacies by appointment. Mike Foley reports." class="wysiwyg-break drupal-content" src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" title="<--break-->">
Columbus Health Commissioner Doctor Mysheika Roberts says the vaccine will be available at 72 sites in Franklin County That includes the four hospital systems, the city and county health departments, and a variety of different pharmacies, most at Giant Eagle and Kroger locations. The 1B population includes residents 65 years of age and older. Seniors 80 and older will be the first group to receive the vaccine next week. Each following week, the eligibility drops by five years. Roberts recommends checking in with your health care provider first.
"Our four adult hospital systems here all have a plan and have proactively reached out to their patients who would qualify," Roberst said. "If for some reason that does not work for them, they can go to a Giant Eagle or a Kroger or any pharmacy offering the vaccine. That list is available at the Ohio Department of Health. Your local health department is a resource for those who don't have a regular provider. People will have a lot of choices and a lot of places, but our recommendation is to start with their health care provider assuming they have one."
Columbus Public Health will only receive 600 doses and the county health department 500, so Roberts urges patience as additional doses become available.
"I know that is a small number, and I am certain we will run out of those doses pretty quickly," Roberts continued. "Be patient with us all as we roll this process out. The approach we are taking is relatively new to us. It's a work in progress. We want to make sure that those who want the vaccine and those who are eligible for the vaccine have an opportunity to get the vaccine."
That's the same sentiment from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center's chief clinical officer Doctor Andy Thomas when vaccinations begin at the Schottenstein Center.
"We're planning to do over 3,000 per day there, but we do not feel we have enough vaccine next week to reach that number," DoctorThomas said. "But we're excited over time as more vaccines are approved and the product supply chain continues to improve that we'll hopefully get to that number or even higher with some innovations that we have planned once we're on site. We're planning to trial some innovations to make it more efficient. We could get as high as 4,000 per day eventually."
Doctor Roberts says a public awareness campaign on the importance of receiving the vaccine will come soon. Mount Carmel's Doctor Nick Kreatsoulas may have already provided the slogan.
"I think the bigger message to carry is that the only way out of this pandemic and to get back to real normal life is with vaccinations or getting the virus," Dr. Kreatsoulas said. "So I think vaccine/virus, I'd rather get the vaccine."
The 1B population also includes two more groups eligible to receive the vaccine soon. A rollout for anyone born with congenital or developmental issues should be coming later this month. Adult educators and staff who work in K-12 buildings should begin receiving the vaccine the first week of February.
Additional information and a search tool for locations for next week's rollout are expected to be available by Friday morning at coronavirus.ohio.gov