Summit County prepares for next phase of COVID-19 vaccine distribution

Coronavirus

AKRON, Ohio (WJW)– With the first round of COVID-19 vaccines among caregivers and those considered most at risk wrapping up, Summit County health officials are making plans for a more widespread community distribution.

Health officials said Summit County is expected to take delivery of 5,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine next Tuesday.

The plan is to make them available to those who are over 80 years old at 36 different locations, including pharmacies, local hospitals and 200 doses at Summit County Public Health.

“I want to be very direct. We do not have enough vaccine to vaccinate everyone at this time. Unfortunately, the vaccine availability drives all of our efforts,” said Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.

Starting Thursday, the Ohio Department of Health is expected to have a map online of where people can get vaccines and the process of registering for them is expected to begin.

Registration for round 1B will be required with proof of age.

“We do ask that you be patient in this effort because we have limited amounts. We are moving as quickly as we can with the resources that we have and as more resources become in line we will be scheduling and holding clinics to get this vaccine out to you as quickly as possible,” said Chris Barker, emergency preparedness and compliance supervisor at Summit County Public Health.

Administrators of local hospitals on Wednesday joined in the conversation urging residents to consider the vaccines, saying among the thousands who have received their first doses there have been no significant reactions to them locally.

Local health officials are making a specific effort to encourage minorities to get the vaccine.

“We have to step up and we have to be willing to vaccinate, we have a higher death rate than others and have to make sure we get vaccinated,” said John WIlliams, of Alpha Phi Alpha.

Distribution of the vaccines is dependent on the federal government which sends allotments to the state.

Summit County health officials on Wednesday continued urging residents to be patient and, in the meantime, to continue doing everything they can to slow the spread.

“We believe that getting our community vaccinated is critical to ending the pandemic,” said Margaret Sweigert of Summa Health.

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