Vaccine timelines at mercy of availability


By David J. Coehrs - dcoehrs@aimmediamidwest.com



Just over 2,900 Fulton County residents have received one dose of the coronavirus vaccine, but limited supplies will dictate how long the full inoculation process will take.

Four Phase 1B vaccinations clinics targeting county residents 75 and older and those with specific medical conditions have been held at the Fulton County Fairgrounds in conjunction with numerous area agencies. The vaccine has also been available at the county health department and senior center, the Fulton County Health Center, and the Kroger pharmacy in Swanton.

Phase 1A inoculations for health care workers and personnel caring for COVID-19 patients, nursing home and assisted living residents and staff, EMS responders, and people with developmental disabilities, among other specific groups, began in December through federal pharmacy contracts.

However, second doses for those currently eligible to receive the vaccine may require a waiting period, Fulton County Health Commissioner Kim Cupp said.

“The length of the process is dependent on the availability of vaccine. Vaccine is in scarce supply and the supply does not meet the current need,” she said. “The demand is greater than the vaccine.”

Cupp said area clinics are scheduled according to when the state notifies the health department that an allocation of vaccine will be delivered. Eligible groups can register to be vaccinated by filling out a form at fultoncountyhealthdept.com or by call the department at 419-337-0915. They will be notified of their appointment.

Scheduled clinics for both 1A and 1B groups can also be found at website and on the health department’s Facebook page. The available vaccine brands are Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

None of the county residents receiving a first vaccine dose have reported serious side effects, Cupp said. And there has been no reluctance by participants in Phase 1B to get the shot.

“We have more people registered than we have vaccine available to meet all of the requests,” she said.

The exact schedule for inoculations within the county’s seven school districts also remains up in the air. While the districts’ faculty and staff members are supposed to begin receiving vaccine the week of Feb. 22, details about the process are still sketchy.

Fulton County schools are among the last group of schools in Ohio to receive the vaccine.

Wauseon School Superintendent Troy Armstrong said 65% of the school district’s personnel have so far signed up for the shot. He said the vaccine won’t be mandatory.

There are no plans for the school district to provide vaccinations for the students.

Armstrong said students currently taking virtual classes will not be required to attend in-person classed once the district’s personnel are vaccinated. “Parents made a decision to attend in-person or remotely at the start of the school year and were provided the choice again at the semester. No changes will be made to either environment based on the administration of the vaccine,” he said.

About 70% of faculty and staff at Pettisville schools is willing to be vaccinated, Interim Superintendent Ken Boyer said. He said the district’s policy is voluntary. There are no plans to vaccinate students en masse – “We would anticipate that to be much later,” he said.

As for continuing face-to-face education with an option for online classes, “that will continue. We are in class in now and there is no reason to think that will not be the same next year,” Boyer said.

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By David J. Coehrs

dcoehrs@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.