Clinton County Health District orders 600 doses of COVID vaccine for kids


By Gary Huffenberger - ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com



Renee Quallen, at right, who is the Clinton County Health District’s Women, Infant, & Children (WIC) director, is recognized for her 10-year work anniversary with the health district. At left is Clinton County Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben.

Renee Quallen, at right, who is the Clinton County Health District’s Women, Infant, & Children (WIC) director, is recognized for her 10-year work anniversary with the health district. At left is Clinton County Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

The Wilmington Kiwanis Club has recognized the Clinton County Health District staff “for outstanding care of community health during a pandemic.” From left are Clinton County Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben and Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Walker-Bauer.


Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

WILMINGTON — The Clinton County Health District (CCHD) last Friday ordered doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, and tentatively is looking to administer its first shots to kids that age on Nov. 5 at Wilmington City Schools (WCS).

At the Monday morning Clinton County Board of Health meeting, CCHD Public Nursing Director Monica Wood, RN, said she ordered 600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine for children in the 5 to 11 age range, and also had reached out to local school districts about their interest in having in-school vaccination clinics.

As of Monday morning, WCS and Blanchester Local Schools had responded.

WCS Superintendent Mindy McCarty-Stewart said that the clinic will be open to all students ages 5 and up. The CCHD will also vaccinate any family members.

“They will not need to pre-register with the school. This will be an after-school event from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and parents will need to be present,” the superintendent said.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel will meet Tuesday, Oct. 26 to discuss authorizing the vaccine for children 5 to 11. According to new data, Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is nearly 91 percent effective against symptomatic illness in children ages 5 to 11.

Like Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for adults, the company’s pediatric (for children) COVID vaccine is stored in ultra-cold freezers, which the CCHD has.

“In that ultra-cold freezer unit, we can store those [Pfizer vaccines] up to six months,” Wood said.

The ultra-cold unit offers CCHD “a tremendous amount of flexibility,” she said. That includes plans to share with the children of Highland County.

“So we’ve kind of got that on stand-by that when we get the guidance, that those [Highland County] kids will also have an opportunity because its an ultra-cold [unit] that’s close by to them,” said Wood.

During the board meeting, Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Walker-Bauer reported two local COVID-related deaths were reported last week, which gives Clinton County a total of 93 deaths related to COVID. The two most recent deaths may have occurred several weeks ago, said Walker-Bauer, given the state’s review process.

As of Sunday, there were 287 active cases in the county. That active case number represents a drop over time, and is similar to what the county had on Aug. 19.

Prosecutor offers legal opinion

In Walker-Bauer’s report to the board, she noted she had received an Oct. 4 letter from Clinton County Prosecuting Attorney Andrew T. McCoy. His letter is in response to Walker-Bauer’s request for an opinion regarding the legality of a recently passed Blanchester Local Schools District quarantine-alternative policy.

The Blanchester school district was denied its wish to be included in a Warren County pilot quarantine-alternative program that’s meant to keep healthy students in school rather than quarantined at home after exposure. After not being admitted into the pilot program, Blanchester Schools set its own quarantine-alternative policy which differs from the state-approved Warren County pilot.

In McCoy’s letter, he said as legal counsel to the county Health Department and to the county Board of Health, he would limit his opinion “to the jurisdiction and enforcement authority of your agency [health department] and board.”

In part, McCoy wrote, “The Ohio Department of Health’s previous [quarantine] orders are no longer in effect. The state has since set forth ‘guidelines’ and ’recommendations’ neither of which would constitute orders enforceable by your agency.

“Therefore, it is my opinion that your agency holds no current jurisdiction for enforcement authority over the Blanchester Board Policy,” McCoy determined.

The health commissioner said her latest report from Blanchester schools indicates most parents of exposed students continue to follow the quarantine policy recommended by the Ohio Department of Health, rather than choosing the opt-in alternative adopted by the Blanchester school board.

On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health updated its COVID quarantine guidance for schools. Walker-Bauer said it was modeled partly after the Warren County pilot program and other studies done around the state.

Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.

Renee Quallen, at right, who is the Clinton County Health District’s Women, Infant, & Children (WIC) director, is recognized for her 10-year work anniversary with the health district. At left is Clinton County Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_rene_c-1.jpgRenee Quallen, at right, who is the Clinton County Health District’s Women, Infant, & Children (WIC) director, is recognized for her 10-year work anniversary with the health district. At left is Clinton County Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

The Wilmington Kiwanis Club has recognized the Clinton County Health District staff “for outstanding care of community health during a pandemic.” From left are Clinton County Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben and Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Walker-Bauer.
https://www.wnewsj.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/22/2021/10/web1_kiwanis-1.jpgThe Wilmington Kiwanis Club has recognized the Clinton County Health District staff “for outstanding care of community health during a pandemic.” From left are Clinton County Board of Health Chair Terri Thobaben and Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Walker-Bauer. Gary Huffenberger | News Journal

By Gary Huffenberger

ghuffenberger@wnewsj.com