PORTSMOUTH — “Each week, it’s like Christmas as we wait and hope for bigger shipments of vaccine doses. But so far each week we have been sadly disappointed,” remarked Portsmouth City Health Commissioner Chris Smith.
Smith and Dr. Jerod Walker, Scioto County Health Department Commissioner have remained optimistic that as more and more COVID-19 vaccine is being produced that more will make its way to Scioto County. As yet, the small shipments haven’t gotten bigger.
“We’ve been averaging about 100 doses per week for each of the health departments as well as each of the Kroger Pharmacies,” said Walker. “SOMC has gotten larger shipments but those have also gotten smaller in recent weeks, so the demand for vaccinations here is outpacing the supply that we have available.”
The federal government recently announced a plan to ship additional vaccines directly to pharmacies, but it isn’t clear yet whether any pharmacies in Scioto County will be on that list.
When and if the county begins receiving larger shipments, Scioto EMA Director Larry Mullins says the county is prepared to hold mass vaccination events to quickly reach as many people as possible. “This county has a great level of cooperation and experience when it comes to responding to large public health needs,” Mullins said. “The health departments, the hospitals, Shawnee State University, the schools, and several other organizations meet weekly to assure that everybody is on the same page and ready to roll out a mass vaccination event on short notice. The moment we know we have a larger supply of vaccines coming, we will be ready to start scheduling the events.”
Meanwhile, the current Scioto County Vaccination Sites-Portsmouth City and Scioto County Health Departments, SOMC, and the Kroger Pharmacies in Portsmouth and Wheelersburg are still registering eligible residents for vaccinations. Beginning February 8, those who are 65 years of age and older are eligible and may register, but be patient. The list is long, and the supply is short, but eventually, everyone who wants a vaccine will get one.