WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Health District (CCHD) received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine Monday morning, prompting the district’s director of nursing to remark she was “beyond thrilled” and that it made for an early Christmas.
The special delivery contained 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency use authorization for on Friday.
However, the other headline news out of the local health department Monday was somber: Two more deaths of Clinton Countians due to COVID-19 — a woman in her 60s and a woman in her 70s.
These bring the reported local death toll due to coronavirus to 38, of which 18 were reported in the past 17 days.
Health care workers and nursing home residents are among those receiving the first doses of the two COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved for use in the United States — the initial vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, and now the Moderna vaccine.
On Sunday, a federal advisory panel put people 75 and older plus essential workers like firefighters and police, teachers, corrections workers and grocery store workers next in line for COVID-19 shots.
According to the Associated Press, the panel’s recommendation next goes to the Centers for Disease Control director and to states as guidance to put together vaccination programs. CDC directors have almost always signed off on committee recommendations, but no matter what the CDC says, there will be differences from state to state, the AP reported.
At Monday’s regular monthly meeting of the Clinton County Board of Health, Clinton County Health District Director of Nursing Monica Wood said they will follow the state of Ohio’s guidance concerning the sequence of who should receive the vaccine.
She advised residents to keep up-to-date regarding the vaccine program during the coming months on the CCHD’s website or Facebook page, and the News Journal.
Wood also shared some vaccine education she wants to become common knowledge. After receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, you need to continue to wear a mask and frequently wash your hands and practice physical distancing and stay home when feeling ill through the two-shot process and for a couple weeks after the second shot.
“Because we know when you are vaccinated it takes your body a little time to build those antibodies to protect you, so just keep that in mind,” she said.
The director of nursing said she thinks that will be the biggest educational challenge in the vaccine program, due to people sometimes thinking that now that they’ve been vaccinated, they don’t need to continue practicing the preventive steps. But they do.
Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Bauer said the CCHD will be obtaining the Pfizer vaccine, too.
Further, she said the county health department will be involved with the mass vaccination initiative in the county as vaccine doses become more available and the circle of intended recipients is enlarged beyond those who are most vulnerable or regarded as essential workers.
But Bauer also said that in time, other facilities will come on board to administer COVID-19 vaccinations.
While the mass vaccination will start through the Clinton County Health Department, the program will have to be expanded to other providers.
“We have to; there’s no way that we can do it all on our own,” Bauer said Monday.
Wood spoke about some details in the local mass vaccination planning. Shot recipients will get a vaccine record card, indicating the date administered, with recipients needing to return in about a month for the second dose.
Those vaccinated will receive an information sheet, which also includes a QR code image available for optional use to track your health through prompts.
She also mentioned there will be online pre-registration after clinic dates are scheduled. That has the advantage of speeding up the process of administering shots on-site.
To demonstrate how the number of local COVID cases have recently shot up, Bauer noted the county reached the 2,000 total cases milestone on Friday. By comparison, the 1,000 cases milestone occurred on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, even though the pandemic dates back to March.
Wood said of the vaccine program, which is anticipated to ultimately get the coronavirus pandemic under control, that she can tell, “People are so ready for this.”
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.