CHARDON, Ohio — Health leaders point to a recent rise in the number of new vaccinations as Ohio crosses 50% of its population receiving at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
In Geauga County, Health Commissioner Tom Quade sees all sorts of reasons for why more people are coming in to get a vaccine over the past month, including concerns over the delta variant and Pfizer closing in on full FDA approval.
"Folks are more comfortable with it now as more people get the shot,” he said. “There's virtually no waiting for any pharmacy you go to.”
At its peak, Geauga County administered more than 4,500 vaccines in a single week back in March. This recent rise doesn’t come close to that, however, the county went from about 170 new vaccinations the first full week of July to steadily increasing to more than 400 vaccinations the first week in August.
In Richland County, health experts tweeted their recent rise is quadrupled compared to a month ago.
Richland County has vaccinated (at least first dose) 1,449 individuals since the July 19 vaccinated report or an average of 483 people per week. That is 4x what the County was vaccinating on average during the first weeks of July. pic.twitter.com/C2Vsc2GRLh— Richland Public Health (@RichlandHealth1) August 9, 2021
It's a trend happening all over the state. Unfortunately, Quade told News 5 the rise in vaccinations mirrors the rise in confirmed cases.
“When they see the case numbers going up, they start to reevaluate and say, ‘Maybe I’m at a place I want to get that shot,’” he added.
Quade expects to see more positive cases for the rest of 2021 with holiday travel and more people indoors.
“The numbers are still relatively low, but we know what happens next,” he explained. “If we can get those numbers lower and start at a lower place, when it goes up, it won’t go up as high. Let’s stop fighting the strategies and start fighting the virus.”
With schools set to open over the next several weeks, Quade argues it’s crucial to get vaccinated to best protect against the virus if there’s any hope of avoiding the same spike in new cases that came last year.
“The thing that makes us even more concerned about it this year than last year is we’ll have more students going back with far fewer remote opportunities,” he said. “When you have a more crowded environment in school, you have an increased risk in transmission.”
Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.