COVID-19 in Ohio: Vaccinations on the rise w/ new eligibility

In Ohio, an average of about 13,000 new coronavirus vaccines were administered last week, for a total of just over 91,000 in all — a huge improvement from the previous two weeks.

In Ohio, an average of about 13,000 new coronavirus vaccines were administered last week, for a grand total of just over 91,000 — a huge improvement from the previous two weeks.

County officials attribute the sudden increase to the recent expansion of vaccine eligibility for Americans ages 5 to 11, as well as new booster eligibility for high-risk Americans.

And late last week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved booster shots for all vaccinated Americans whose protection may have begun to wane.

As of Saturday, 55.7% of vaccine-eligible Ohioans ages 5 and older had completed their vaccinations, about 6.1 million people.

The greatest demand for vaccines in Mahoning County is for booster shots, said county health commissioner Ryan Tekac.

Mahoning County Public Health administered about 400 to 500 booster shots at its most recent clinic, taking place Friday at the Austintown Senior Center, 112 Westchester Drive. But he estimated that on those days, only about 10 adults came in for their very first injection.

Several hundred places have already been booked for next Friday’s clinic on December 3, he said. The clinics are usually full a week or two in advance, he said.

In general, booster patients ask for Moderna, Temac said. The agency has since stopped offering Pfizer altogether.

Most of the county’s pediatric vaccines to date have been provided by Akron Children’s Hospital Mahoning Valley and other pediatric providers, he said.

Vaccine demand is also “stable” in Trumbull County, said Kris Wilster, environmental health director for Trumbull County Combined Health District.

“I’m looking for sharp drops and we haven’t had any, which is good,” he said. “If [the CDC is] if I go to everyone 18 and older, I think the numbers will stay the same, if not increase.”

The province administered 460 new vaccinations to 19-year-olds and younger in the week ending Nov. 13, but just under two-thirds of 12 to 17-year-olds in the province still have not been fully vaccinated.

The county administered about 100 injections Thursday at its most recent clinic at Eastwood Mall in Niles, Wilster said. Some who were attracted on Thursday by the district’s offer to give $100 gift cards for new vaccinations were turned down that day, as the district has since been out of funding for the program. With that state grant, Wilster said the district has given out about 3,000 gift cards for prices ranging from $25 to $100.

Columbiana County Health District has yet to begin administering pediatric injections as it continues to work on its eligibility pool for previously approved injections for teens and boosters for adults, spokesperson Laura Fauss said. Numerous other area providers offer pediatric shots, she added.

But demand for the injections is dwindling in the county, she said, and the district is considering closing its drive-thru vaccination clinic at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds.

The district administered last week only handed out about 500 shots in total at that drive-thru clinic, which is “relatively slow compared to what we’ve seen in the clinic before,” she said.

“It seems that there is not enough need for drive-thru vaccinations at the clinic at the fairgrounds just because of the manpower needed to man that building,” Fauss said.

In the coming weeks, the district expects to partner with Direction Home of Eastern Ohio to bring booster shots to homebound seniors, as it did with the first round of vaccines for those residents.

Other Ohio COVID-19 Trends

Between November 14 and November 20, the state reported:

38,210 new cases of COVID-19, up from 33,026 the week before, including: 992 new cases in Mahoning County, up from 899; 855 new cases in Trumbull County, up from 657; 551 new cases in Columbiana County, up from 487. 1,834 new COVID-19 hospitalizations, up from 1,387; 405 new COVID-19 deaths, down from 624; 91,248 more Ohio residents received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, up from 69,879.

From November 13:

6,672,070 Ohio residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including: 124,108 in Mahoning County, up from 1,211 (up from 667 new first doses the week before); 103,209 in Trumbull, up 983 (versus 682); 45,394 in Columbiana, up from 422 (versus 503). 57.1% of the state population has received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Mahoning Valley counties lag behind the state rate: Mahoning County: 54.3%; Trumbull County: 52.1%; Columbiana County: 44.6%.

The latest corona news

Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 booster shots are authorized for all U.S. adults to ensure “continued protection” against the disease, as there is evidence that immunity may wane over time, the US Food and Drug Administration announced last week. AN Center for Disease Control and Prevention advisory committee voted to support Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 boosters for all adults who had their last shot at least six months ago. Federal health officials approved in October J&J boosters to be administered two months after the last injection. Here’s everything you need to know about the boosters, as reported by McClatchy News.

Private companies and public entities would be excluded from: proof of vaccination against COVID-19 needed to enter a facility or conduct business, under anti-vaccination legislation passed by House Republicans last week, that would include everything from private theaters to public sports arenas, the Associated Press reported. In addition, schools were unable to prevent students from participating in activities based on their COVID-19 vaccination status. The legislation was sponsored by Valley state Rep. Al Cutrona of Canfield, R-59th. It comes alongside the Senate where the Republican president has expressed skepticism about bills disrupting business decisions.

In a memo to city officials last week, Youngstown Mayor Jamael Tito Brown said if the goal of achieving 75% vaccination coverage among city workers is not met, a policy will be introduced requiring workers to show proof of vaccination or undergo biweekly COVID-19 testing. The city has set a target date of January 4, 2022 to reach 75% vaccination coverage, the memo states. “If our 75% vaccination target is met, there would be no need for the city to enact such a policy,” Brown said in the memo. City security union leaders pushed back against a vaccine requirement earlier this month.

Sunday was the first deadline to register for the first draw of Ohio’s Vax-2-School Vaccine Incentive Raffle, which is offering 150 $10,000 grants and five $100,000 top prize grants to Ohio vaccine recipients ages 5 to 25. Winners will be announced Nov. 29 through Dec. 3. The deadline to register for the second draw is 11:59 PM November 28. The deadline for the third draw is 11:59 PM. December 1st. Once a person in the qualifying age group has received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, they can join online at OhioVax2School.com or by phone at 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) .

Pfizer last week asked US regulators to authorize the experimental pill for COVID-19, paving the way for a likely launch this winter of a promising at-home treatment, the Associated Press reported. The company’s filing comes as new infections are on the rise again in the United States, mainly caused by hot spots in states where colder weather is driving more Americans indoors. Pfizer’s Pill has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalizations and deaths among people with coronavirus infections. The Food and Drug Administration is already reviewing a competitive pill of Merck and several smaller drug makers are also expected to seek approval for their own antiviral pills in the coming months.

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