Mary Alice Reporting –

As Tuscarawas County heads into a new group for COVID vaccinations, leaders joined for a press conference about the plan and new sites.

Statewide vaccines for Phase 1B will start the week of January 19th, which is for adults 80 years of age or older.

The timeline then is anticipated for all Ohioans, 75 and older and those with severe congenital and developmental disorders to begin being vaccinated the week of January 25th followed by employees of K – 12 schools the week of February 1st, and ages 65 and up to set appointments starting the week of February 8th.

County Health Commissioner Katie Seward stressed, once again, that there is not a distribution problem locally but rather a supply capacity since each health department receives 100 doses per week.

“No doses will be wasted. So, we are using every potential does in each vial. We are prepared to increase our capacity to vaccinate the community on a larger scale if and when larger quantities of vaccine become available.”

In Phase 1A, a total of 375 individuals have been vaccinated, with an additional 100 expected today. Meanwhile, for the next phase, 300 appointments have been made and a waitlist currently holds over 1,600 names.

Tuscarawas Emergency Management Agency Director Alex McCarthy noted that there will be more distribution sites, including both health departments, both Discount Drug Mart locations, and the Dover and Bolivar Giant Eagle stores.

In addition, it was reported previously that anyone contracting COVID would have three months of built antibodies, and when asked about any research into vaccination versus transmission antibodies, New Philadelphia Health Commissioner Vickie Ionno said those findings are still being researched.

“We know that natural immunity from having the disease is temporary and we’re hoping that the vaccination and this Messenger RNA vaccine that we’re able to give now is a longer-term immunity.”

To wrap up the conference, Seward asked that anyone scheduling a vaccine appointment should follow through with that or notify the respective site well in advance since the vaccine lasts for several hours once taken from the freezer and the vial penetrated and the goal is to not waste any dose.

More details moving forward for different phases and age groups can be found at www.tchdnow.org

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