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Summit County health officials discuss vaccine rollout for people over 80

Posted at 6:25 PM, Jan 13, 2021

AKRON, Ohio — Summit County officials discussed the plan to vaccinate people over the age of 80 as part of the rollout of Phase 1B, in accordance with Governor Mike DeWine's distribution timeline.

During a virtual news conference on Wednesday, Donna Skoka, the health commissioner for Summit County Public Health, said the county will receive 5,790 doses for the first portion of the distribution.

"As of January 14, there will be a list on the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 page that will show you where vaccines are available throughout the state," Skoda said.

Summit County has set up a vaccine information registry where residents can register to receive information for scheduling appointments through SCPH.

On January 19, residents who are 80 or older and have signed up for the registry will receive an email with specific instructions on when the clinic will take place and how to schedule an appointment to receive a vaccine.

The clinic at SCPH will be drive-thru style. The date has yet to be determined.

Two hundred of the doses will be available at Summit County Public Health. The rest will spread out through 11 providers at more than 30 locations, according to Chris Barker, the emergency preparedness coordinator for SCPH.

"These providers include pharmacies, hospitals, and federally-qualified health centers. A full listing will be uploaded to our website at a later time," Barker said.

Leaders from Akron hospital also attended the news conferences and stressed that thousands of their healthcare workers have received the first dose of the vaccine with very few problems.

"We've had vanishingly few meaningful problems with side effects. I don't know of any that we've had here at Akron General that have been clinically significant," said Dr. Brian Harte, president of Cleveland Clinic Akron General.

John Williams, chief operating officer for Alpha Phi Alpha Homes, wanted to reassure the African American community about the safety of the vaccine.

"I've been assured by the various medical associations, and all that have taken it, that it is safe to do," Williams said.

Health officials acknowledged there has been frustration by the slow rollout and availability of the vaccine.

"Because we have a limited amount, we are moving as quickly as we can with the resources that we have," Barker said.

In the meantime, county leaders are urging people to be patient and to continue wearing masks while practicing social distancing.

"There will eventually be enough vaccines for every single person who wants one," said county spokesperson, Greta Johnson.

During Phase 1A of the vaccination plan, Summit County Public Health has vaccinated 3,500 people, which included public and private emergency medical personnel, people with developmental disabilities, and home health and hospice staff.

Residents should contact SCPH COVID Call Center at 330-926-5795 with questions.