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COVID-19 Vaccine process to take months in many venues, such as Cleveland, Lorain, and Toledo

By La Prensa Staff

Nationally, health officials and others are warning the vaccine distribution process would take months to receive shipment of enough doses to administer to everyone. In Toledo, for example, leaders are preaching patience when it comes to the general public’s ability to request and receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

 


Doni Miller

“The end is in sight. We’re in the homestretch, we really are. We can see the finish line,” said Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz during a Dec. 22, 2020 virtual press conference broadcast on Facebook Live. “But to get there, which is back to our normal lives, we need to promote what we know is going to get us there—and that is the vaccine.”

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Dept. is following Ohio’s phased plan for administering the initial shipments of the vaccine—first focusing on health care workers, EMS responders, and people who are at the greatest risk for severe illness. Tough choices are being made as to who goes in what order, placing police officers, teachers, and students further down the list.

The COVD-19 vaccine will be administered over time to those who want it. Local leaders know the roll-out won’t be enough. A public education campaign will be necessary to help build confidence within the general public to encourage a majority to step forward, willing to receive it voluntarily. Leaders will tap into Toledo’s social networks in a campaign dubbed “Project V, for Victory.”

“We know that there are a lot of questions about the vaccine. There could be some doubts that people have in their minds about its effectiveness, about potential drawbacks,” admitted Kapszukiewicz. “There is a healthy cynicism. Americans are natural questioners, questioning authority—that’s how we were founded.”

The public education effort is being directly aimed at the inherent mistrust that has built up over time toward both the medical system and government in general within the black and brown communities.

Leaders acknowledge that many in the minority community are more likely to listen to those they do trust—clergy, neighbors, and friends. Those all are being enlisted to help spread factual, scientific information to all audiences possible.

Doni Miller, president/CEO of the Neighborhood Health Association, for example, pointed out that Latinos and African Americans are contracting COVID-19 and dying at much higher rates than anyone else—both locally and nationally. That makes the vaccine critical within minority communities.

“Let the science lead you. Listen to the education that we will be putting out there for you,” she implored. “Our reach into this community will be intentionally broad and intentionally deep.”

The two vaccines that have been approved and recommended to prevent COVID19 require two injections, with several weeks between them, before they begin to offer the best protection. The vaccine received in late December are the first dose for those in identified critical groups. A second dose will be delivered and administered weeks later.

Meantime, the health dept.’s emergency order closing school buildings ended Jan. 11, 2021 so many of the school districts resumed or continued a hybrid learning model where students are in class part of the week and learning remotely the other days. In the Toledo area, those districts include Washington Local, Anthony Wayne, Oregon, Springfield, Rossford, and Sylvania.

Toledo Public Schools, however, started the second semester with remote learning and an intent to re-evaluate the situation in mid-February. Maumee and Ottawa Hills school districts returned to in-person learning, as did Toledo’s Catholic schools.

Teachers and other Ohio school personnel are in line to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting Feb. 1, 2021. School superintendents are being asked to outline their district’s plants to go back to full, in-person or hybrid learning by March 1. To accomplish that goal, superintendents also are being asked by public health officials to predict how many school staff they believe will choose to take the vaccine, which will be administered by a community partner of their choosing.

The next phase of vaccinations, known as 1B in Ohio, will begin with people ages 80 and older. That age will be dropped by five years on a weekly basis, to the point where those Ohioans ages 65 and older will be eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine the week of Jan. 25.

Vaccines for those older Ohioans will be administered by doctors, local health departments, hospitals, federally-qualified health centers such as the Neighborhood Health Association, in-home health service providers, and some retail pharmacies.  The state health department has approximately 1,700 providers registered to distribute vaccines. 

The week of Jan. 25 will also include vaccines for Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early onset medical disorders. Additional details about distribution for this group are yet to be announced. Plans are quietly forming behind-the-scenes for a Phase 2 distribution, mainly involving others who work with the public, including social workers and others not considered medical personnel or first responders.

But the success of those planned vaccine roll-outs is dependent upon the public education efforts such as Project V, which must convince a skeptical citizenry in the wake of divisive politics, mass protests, and the general unrest being caused by months of COVID-related isolation.

“We’re going to try to get back to normal, which I believe we can do by summer,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz boldly predicted. “When I say normal, I mean no masks, no social distancing. You want to go to the Mud Hens, go to a concert—so do I. Let’s do it. We have to get this vaccine to as many people as possible if that’s going to happen.”

 

 

 
Copyright © 1989 to 2021 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 01/13/21 08:23:34 -0800.

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