75 and older now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine

By Patrick Keck - pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com

SCIOTO- The 70-79 age demographic, Scioto County’s second-smallest percentage of those started on the COVID vaccine, could make significant progress this week as the next phase of the state’s rollout began Monday.

Starting Jan. 25, the age 75 and older community and those with severe congenital or developmental disorders and at least one of the following conditions became the latest focus for the state to vaccinate in Phase 1-B:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Spina bifida
  • Severe congenital heart disease requiring hospitalization within the past year.
  • Severe type 1 diabetes requiring hospitalization within the past year.
  • Inherited metabolic disorders including phenylketonuria.
  • Severe neurological disorders including epilepsy, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.
  • Severe genetic disorders including Down syndrome, fragile X syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Turner syndrome and muscular dystrophy.
  • Severe lung disease, including asthma requiring hospitalization within the past year, and cystic fibrosis.
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Alpha and beta thalassemia
  • Solid organ transplant patients

According to the Ohio Department of Health vaccine dashboard, 355 or just under 6% of the group’s population in the county have received the first of two doses. This is beneath the county average of 6.9%, which leads all Ohio counties.

Starting last Monday, those 80 and older were the first scheduled group of Phase 1-B, where the numbers show that over 30% of its population in Scioto started the vaccine. This share falls in line with the state average, over 151,000 receiving the vaccine as of Jan. 25.

While the vaccine supply has been more limited, Portsmouth City Health Department Public Information Officer Cathy Mullins believes ODH is doing the best it can with getting the vaccine out throughout the state. These supply uncertainties make preparations more challenging for the health departments, who determine what should be stored or used this week.

“At this point, it seems like it’s a mystery until a few days before the shipment,” she said, which affects scheduling for both the first and second doses. “We’re hoping as things progress, the number we get keeps on rising.”

Covid numbers have also been trending in the right direction in terms of cases this month, remaining under 100 reported cases each day with exception for Jan. 2 when two days were reported. Cases last week also never reached above 40, Monday’s report of 11 cases the smallest daily increase since Oct. 20 when there were only 825 total cases.

This month, according to the numbers reported by the Portsmouth City and Scioto County Health Departments, 1,080 cases and 24 deaths have been added. Cases in the state have also been slowing, Monday’s report of 4,334 cases and 57 deaths well below the 21-day averages of 6,725 cases and 77 deaths.

As encouraging as that news was, Mullins said she was uncertain if the trend was here to stay. With new strains being reported, the county could be hit by a different version of the virus at some point.

“We are always a little bit behind the curb of the bigger cities,” she said, where the second dose of the vaccine will really slow the spread. “If the bigger cities start to heat up again, we’ll start to heat up again.”

By Patrick Keck


Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at pkeck@aimmediamidwest.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.