Area COVID-19 vaccine clinics backed up with requests

The schedule is paused for several weeks, as frustrated seniors seek elusive appointments.

More than 250,000 people in the Miami Valley are 65 and older, and many members of the large group have been vying for the difficult-to-find coronavirus vaccine appointments.

While eligibility expanded Feb. 8 to those 65 and older, some clinics didn’t open new spots this week as they remained backed up with others previously eligible. Other clinics had appointments book out in an hour or less.

ExploreWhat to know, where to go for COVID-19 vaccine signups

The state has paused for several weeks the eligibility while providers get more caught up.

Bev Murdock of Springboro, who became eligible this week, said she spent four hours on the computer and was unable to find available appointments anywhere. She emphasized that she doesn’t blame the providers, there just isn’t enough supply for the rollout schedule to work.

Murdock said she is “elated that a vaccine even got ordered and orchestrated in a year. That’s unheard of.” But she’s also worried about how long it will drag on before there’s enough supply for her to get a vaccine and things to get back to normal, and said it’s a lot to ask with a system where people need to spend long periods of time checking and rechecking websites.

“I have the luxury to be able to stay at home and search, but I don’t want to be at home every day searching for an appointment, and I don’t know how they fix that,” Murdock said.

Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County’s appointments for this week were filled when appointments opened Feb. 5. Greene County has thousands waiting on a list. Miami County didn’t open new spots this week because of being backed up with others. Preble County on its vaccine signup page wrote “sorry, but due to supply shortages there are no appointments available” and apologized for the inconvenience. Clark County’s were booked in an hour.

Premier Health and Kettering Health Network appointments were full as of Tuesday . Five Rivers Health Centers did not have any new spots open this week and Community Health Centers of Greater Dayton reported all appointments for this week are full.

ExploreCoronavirus: Next vaccine group will include drop in age limit, DeWine says

If you’re eligible to get a vaccine, no central system exists at this point for registering at the different clinics, pharmacies and public health departments providing the shots but the state has a provider list at vaccine.coronavirus.ohio.gov.

It is not clear when the next vaccine group will be announced or when it will begin. Gov. Mike DeWine said the next vaccine group should include a drop in the age limit.

Currently Ohioans ages 65 and older, K-12 school staff and people with a developmental or intellectual disability and a comorbid medical condition identified by the Ohio Department of Health are eligible to be vaccinated. More than two million people in Ohio fit the criteria set in Phase 1B.

DeWine stressed that the state is focusing on administering the vaccine to people who are the most vulnerable to the virus.

He added that more details will be available on Thursday for people with medical issues who have been identified as vulnerable. About 200,000 people are included in that group, the governor said.

Next week Ohio is scheduled to receive 114,100 Moderna and 73,125 Pfizer vaccines. Those numbers are only for first doses and do not include the number of vaccines the state will receive to distribute as second doses.

The vaccines will continue to be available to new residents and staff at long-term care facilities in Ohio once a federal program administering vaccines wraps up in the state.

Ohio reported less than 4,000 daily cases of coronavirus for its fifth day in a row Tuesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The number of hospitalizations from COVID-19 have been steadily getting better for weeks, though the number is still high.

As of Tuesday, 1,974 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in Ohio. This is the eighth straight day hospitalizations in Ohio has remained under 2,500 for seven straight days. If that continues, Ohio could have its curfew lifted as early as Thursday.

DeWine is asking Ohio schools to create specific plans to present by April 1 aimed at addressing academic gaps between students that worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Each child deserves the opportunity to live up to his or her full God-given potential,” he said. “We cannot allow this pandemic to get in the way of their ability to flourish and to thrive.”

Districts can use $2 billion in federal funding made available to schools to implement these plans.

More than 1,300 schools will have received the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine by the end of this week, DeWine said.

ExploreMore people eligible to get vaccines this week, but many slots already booked

K-12 staff were included in Phase 1B of Ohio’s vaccination distribution plan as part of the governor’s efforts to have most schools return to in-person learning by March 1.

“We are already seeing a change. We’re seeing a movement from remote learning to being back in the classroom,” DeWine said.

As of the first week of January, 219 schools were fully remote in the state compared to 35 as of this week.