SCIOTO COUNTY, OHIO (WOWK) — After a months-long battle with vaccine hesitancy, one county in the Buckeye State is gearing up for a surge in demand.
After a decrease in vaccination rates in Scioto County, health officials are once again hopeful for an uptick after recent announcements concerning the vaccines.
A once-bustling vaccination clinic in the Scioto County Courthouse is quiet Thursday—an indication of the dwindling demand there.
“We originally really hit the ground running and [were] leading the state for a little while; but now we’re about ten percent behind on starting vaccinations,” says Larry Mullins, director of the Scioto County Emergency Management Agency.
Despite that, there are still signs of progress:
“We’re very excited to announce that by the end of the week, we expect to hit our ten thousandth shot given by the Scioto County Health Department,” says Tracey Henderson, director of nursing of the Scioto County Health Department.
Health officials are eagerly looking ahead after two groundbreaking announcements: first, kids aged 12 to 15 are now eligible for the Pfizer vaccine.
“When it became apparent last week that it looked like the FDA and the CDC were going to approve Pfizer down to the age of 12, we actually proactively started a waiting list to try to gauge what the interest would be,” Henderson says.
Suffice it to say, that interest has been great:
“We’ve got about 120 people on the waitlist,” Henderson says.
Secondly, Governor of Ohio Mike DeWine recently upped the ante for people sitting on the COVID-19 vaccination fence: he’s beginning a weekly drawing to win one million dollars—or, if you’re under 18, a full-ride scholarship to a university or college in Ohio—and all you have to do is get the vaccination.
Folks in Scioto County think it may help some of the hesitancy there.
“For people that’s on the fence, it’s definitely gonna push ‘em more toward gettin’ ‘em. But the people that’s further on the other side, I mean, a million dollars that’s still gonna push them a little further too!” says Garrett Boyd, who got his COVID-19 vaccination Thursday.
The county health department is already looking ahead to meet anticipated higher demand.
“This news just broke last night and so the next ordering period actually starts tomorrow, and we will be ordering more vaccine for them,” Henderson says.
That first vaccination clinic for 12- to 15-year-olds in Scioto County will take place on Monday, and is by appointment only.