SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — Summit County residents should not call the United Way’s 2-1-1 Info Line to schedule an appointment to receive a COVID-19 vaccination, officials said on Thursday during a live Facebook Q&A session.
What You Need To Know
- Many Summit County residents have been calling the United Way’s 2-1-1- Info Line, which does not schedule appointments for vaccinations
- With doses of the COVID-19 vaccine scarce, Summit County is still administering the vaccine to adults in Group 1A and 1B
- Summit County has a high number of residents older than 75, so officials are hoping they will receive additional doses for Group 1A
- To make an appointment, residents must call the individual pharmacy administering the vaccine
Summit County Public Health and the Summit County Emergency Management Agency hosted the Q&A to help bring clarity to Ohio’s disjointed vaccine rollout program.
To schedule an appointment — and clear the 2-1-1 Info Line, which has been inundated with calls — residents should instead contact one of the 30 Summit County locations administering the vaccine, following the published schedule, officials said.
Ohio’s system is decentralized to allow residents to get their shots closer to home, rather than at a large, centralized and potentially less convenient site, Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said.
“For all the complaints we get about people who want a centralized system, we get equal amounts of complaints for people that are grateful that they can get it where they want to get it with a trusted source,” she said.
During the live Q & A, Skoda answered residents’ questions, with assistance from Emergency Management Agency Director Thomas Smoot and county assistant chief of staff Greta Johnson.
Summit County is currently rolling out by age, in stages, Group 1B of the state’s COVID-19 vaccine plan, which includes people over 65, those with severe medical conditions, and school staff and administration.
The county is simultaneously completing vaccinating people in Group 1A, which includes health care workers, EMS and first responders, residents and staff at nursing homes, health care centers and other congregate living facilities, as well as workers in direct care facilities such as hospice, dentist’s offices and kidney dialysis centers.
It’s slow going however, because Summit County has a large number of residents over 75, coupled with a low number of doses, Skoda said.
“We’re hopeful that we will get extra next week, just because we have a lot of 75-plus-year-olds living in Summit County, probably more than a lot of counties have, and so we're really hoping that that will fare well for us,” she said. I’m praying to the vaccine gods every night.”
In Phase 1B, Summit County initially received 5,700 initial doses, with a small number of additional doses are coming each week, she said.
Some second doses are being administered.
“We've been putting everything out we get,” Skoda said. “Thus far, all of our second doses have arrived just like clockwork. So we're getting our second doses. They're coming in. We were able to start everybody that we vaccinated on Dec. 26. We have been able to start our second doses.”
Summit County is administering both available brands of the vaccine, which require two doses: Moderna must be given 28 days apart, and Pfizer-BioNTech is given 21 days apart.
The vaccine is being distributed by 11 entities at about 30 Summit County locations, which can be found on the state’s interactive vaccine administration location map.
Smoot said he is optimistic the supply will increase, as more manufacturers are approved for distribution.
“While this information can feel overwhelming, this is not a new emergency,” Smoot said. “We all know how to minimize our risk: Stay at home, wash your hands and mask up when leaving home for essential services.”
Smoot said the county’s stay-at-home order has been extended to Feb.28.
“Keep in mind that we have less than 1% of the state's population fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” he said. “Our local hospitals continue to function beyond their maximum capacity.”
To be vaccinated, residents must contact the agencies directly to schedule an appointment. Proof of age is also required at the time of vaccination, but proof of residency and/or immigration status is not required.
For more information, visit the Summit County Public Health website.
Those with no internet access can call Summit County’s Public Health COVID-19 Call Line at 330-926-5795.