Low vaccine doses and high demand creating challenges

Staff report

PORTSMOUTH — After a strong rollout of the local COVID vaccination process, Portsmouth City and Scioto County Health Departments are faced with a challenge. Both departments have received fewer doses of the vaccine than anticipated in the past couple of weeks.

The fewer doses available locally have slowed down the health departments’ progress toward completing Phase 1a of the vaccination program and will likely delay or slow down beginning Phase 1b which includes individuals 65 and over, and those who work in schools.

With Governor DeWine’s recent announcement that Ohioans 80 and over would be eligible for the vaccine the week of January 18th, local residents in that group were hopeful that their turn to be vaccinated would be coming soon.

Scioto County Health Commissioner Dr. Jerod Walker said, “our vaccination schedule is completely dependent upon how much vaccine we receive each week. Currently, we are only receiving about 20% of the doses that we had anticipated. When our shipments of doses increase, we will be able to complete Phase 1a and move into Phase 1b, which includes older individuals.”

Portsmouth City Health Commissioner Chris Smith added, “We ask that residents be patient and continue to wear your masks, wash your hands, social distance, and avoid gatherings. We want to get everyone who wants a vaccine, vaccinated as quickly as we receive the amount of vaccine that we need.”

For questions about the process, residents can call the vaccine hotline at 740-352-7020. Follow the local health departments and Scioto EMA on Facebook or go to www.sciotocovid19.com.


Staff report