Thousands of vaccine appointments remain available, indicating a slack in demand and a slowing in getting back to safe and sustained recovery, health officials said.
In Ohio, 4.58 million people (39%) have received at least one dose and 3.55 million (30%) have received a complete vaccination. Cases and hospitalizations from COVID-19 have also recently been trending once again in the right direction, pointing to the nearly 100% protection vaccines offer against severe disease or death from the virus.
Yet, the number of vaccine doses given out each day in Ohio has been slowing, even though there’s still plenty of supply.
At the highest point, 105,773 people in Ohio started their vaccination on March 31. On April 23, there were 25,142 vaccinations started in the state and around 25,000 to 26,000 vaccinations were started each day that week in Ohio.
“There was this great momentum very early on, and everywhere we’ve seen over the last several weeks, just a slowdown of that interest,” said Dr. Roberto Colón, chief medical officer of Miami Valley Hospital. “And it’s created a lot of concern, because we had hoped that early interest ... was going to continue a lot longer.”
Different organizations have led a combination of access and information efforts around the region in an attempt to encourage people to get immunized. Most counties now accept walk-ins, many have expanded hours to fit different schedules and a number of forums have tailored information to rural, Black, LGBTQ, or Hispanic audiences.
Lisa Henderson, VP of health initiatives, Greater Dayton Area Hospital Association, said it’ important to let people who early on had trouble making an appointment that now there are more hours and more availability.
“These days there are so many different locations and times available,” Henderson said.
About two weeks ago, the FDA and CDC also recommended pausing giving out the J&J vaccine after reports of extremely rare but serious blood clots. After experts examined the risk and benefits and educated providers on how to spot and treat the rare complication, the pause was just lifted.
Therese Slyby, clinical nurse specialist and executive director of patient care for Kettering Physician Network, said they’ve seen about 10 to 15% of people cancelling appointments and some patients that they’ve reached have shared concerns about vaccine safety.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are made with different technology than the J&J vaccines and patients have options to seek other types of vaccines, but Slyby said some are now apprehensive about all vaccines.
“Those who were on the fence, unfortunately, I think may have fallen toward hesitancy now with some of what had been in the news recently,” Slyby said. She said the system is still working on education, flexibility and convenience with vaccinations, such as evening hours, signs advertising that walk-ins are welcome, and outreach such as at churches.
The stats and surveys also don’t paint the whole picture.
Wright Patterson Air Force Base is a federal organization with it’s own data and tracking and they’ve given out about 20,000 vaccines but those doses are separately tracked, said Laurie Fox, public information officer with Greene County Public Health.
Fox said out of those currently eligible who haven’t received a vaccine, some want to wait and see until they feel more confident about safety, and also some are looking for a free time with their work schedule or other commitments. The department has been working to match supply with people, from helping the base, to bringing shots to a Thai restaurant, schools, businesses, and at a popup outside Foy’s in Fairborn.
“We’ve had 39.05% start the series, and about 31.51% who has completed it. That’s really good for a county of our size,” Fox said.
In a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of 11,000 U.S. adults, published April 16, the foundation’s COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor has found that vaccine confidence in the U.S. had increased as more people have seen their friends and family members get vaccinated.
“Yet with a small but persistent group opposed to getting the vaccine and many others still on the fence, the U.S. may soon hit a point where vaccine supply exceeds demand, a situation that is already the case in certain communities,” the survey found.
Those surveyed who are not ready to get vaccinated for COVID-19 right away have a range of questions and concerns about the vaccine that require different strategies to address. The foundation reported that the top concern across groups has been the potential side effects of the vaccine, including a substantial share who are worried about missing work due to side effects.
Some other concerns reflected that people had inaccurate information such as worries about getting COVID-19 from the vaccine -- which isn’t possible -- and fear about getting charged out-of-pocket costs -- which isn’t allowed with this vaccine.
Colón said it’s important to keep getting the information out about how safe and effective the vaccines are at protecting themselves and the people around them.
“It’s going to be the quickest path for us getting back to normal,” Colón said.
Vaccination Clinics Begin at Sinclair College Centerville
Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County begins its COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics this week at Sinclair College Centerville, 5800 Clyo Road, Centerville, with the choice of Johnson & Johnson or Pfizer.
Appointments encouraged but walk-ins are welcome.
- 1000 appointments available 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 28.
- 750 appointments available 9 a.m. to noon May 1
Individuals who have received their first dose of Pfizer at the Dayton Convention Center, and it has been at least three weeks since receiving it, should come to Sinclair College Centerville Campus for their second dose. No appointment is necessary for a second dose.
To register for an appointment to receive a first dose, https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or call Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County at (937) 225-6217, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.