MetroHealth begins administering COVID-19 vaccines to those over 80


CLEVELAND (WJW) — Geriatric patients at MetroHealth are taking the first step toward protection against COVID-19

“It was very easy really, and the workers were so nice and so helpful, and I just can’t say enough about them,” said 84-year-old Catharine Gatto.

BettyLouise Simpson, 95, was also elated to get her first dose. “That’s what I’ve been waiting for.”

The hospital system said 400 patients over 80 signed up to receive the COVID vaccine over the weekend and more vaccinations are scheduled next week at sites on the east and west side.

“We’ve had a wonderful response so some of our expectations are what we want to see from people, they’re excited to get the vaccine, they’re happy that it’s offered,” said Dr. Lynn Milliner, Associate Director for Metro Express Care.

The governor says he expects at least 100,000 doses in the coming week for the approximately 420-thousand Ohioans over the age of 80, adding that it will take some time to fully inoculate this group. 

“We won’t be able to reach everybody, but we’re reaching the ones that we most want to get in touch with,” said Milliner.

Healthcare workers say that more doses are coming and will be made available as soon as they get them. 

Simpson was not missing out on that chance after experiencing COVID first hand when her whole household got sick.

“She ended up on hospice, she almost died so when the vaccine came available she wanted to get the vaccine,” said her daughter Darcia Simpson.

Gatto has also seen the cruelty of the virus. 

“A few of my friends that were a lot younger than I am had passed away,” she said.

“When those age groups get COVID, and COVID related conditions, they don’t do well,” said Milliner.

Doctors say they are worried about this population getting sick before the vaccine provides full protection but starting the process will hopefully lessen the number of those needing hospital beds. 

For these patients, immunity can’t come soon enough. 

“I’m looking forward to getting out and I’ve been home for a long time and canceled some of my doctor’s appointments, so I’m looking forward to getting them all caught up,” said Gatto.

“Some of my grandkids have little babies and I want to be able to see them. Be able to visit my children that are out of town,” said Simpson.

MetroHealth will start vaccination of the general public on Monday and an appointment is needed. The governor anticipated vaccinations will open up to those 75 and older on Jan. 25.

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