NEW BOSTON, Ohio — Scioto County teachers and school staff signed up to receive their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last week at the school districts’ health clinic, Scioto Advantage, in New Boston. The second-dose of Moderna vaccines will be scheduled in the coming weeks.
Scioto Advantage is a CareHere-operated clinic located in New Boston, exclusively serving members of the school districts’ health insurance plan. This free clinic was available only to area teachers and school staff throughout the county who chose to take it. According to South Central Ohio Educational Service Center Superintendent Sandy Mers, about 60 percent of eligible county teachers and staff signed up to receive their vaccine.
Teachers and staff from Portsmouth City Schools, Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Notre Dame, and Portsmouth STEM Academy will be served by the Portsmouth City Health Department.
“Schools submitted their intent on who their partner was going to be — whether it was a health department or pharmacy or, in our case, Scioto Advantage – and then each district submitted numbers of their eligible employees and we submitted those numbers to the Ohio Department of Health. We were very fortunate that we submitted a request for 1,100 vaccines, and we were granted 1,100 vaccines,” said Moira Volker, MHA, director of clinical services for CareHere.
Those 1,100 vaccines are first-dose shots only, she explained and said more vaccines will be sent later for the clinic to schedule second-dose shots.
To keep patients safe during the clinic, each person was assigned a six-minute appointment and were only admitted into the building five minutes before their scheduled time. Temperatures and photo IDs were checked at the door. Inside, eight patients could be serviced at one time, in different rooms, and afterward, they were held in a socially-distanced observation area for 15-30 minutes before being allowed to leave.
While some people have expressed concern or uncertainty about the safety or efficacy of the vaccine, Volker assures that it has been thoroughly tested. Even her own parents, she said, were part of the vaccine trials.
“The biggest concern that we hear is that it was pushed through too quickly. But really, if people take time to read the science behind it and the way this vaccine is made with MRNA, this technology and data has around for decades. So while it seems this vaccine was made quickly, it isn’t new technology. It’s based off the successful vaccines that have been using MRNA in the past,” Volker said.
Volker urges people to get the vaccine, but said it’s important to check and be sure you are in the eligible population so the most at-risk can receive their shots first.
“We’re really fortunate to be able to get all these educators who are out there with children in the front-lines; to be able to reach out directly to get this. The partnership we have had with South Central Ohio Educational Service Center and Superintendent Sandy Mers has been wonderful,” she said.
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