Following high demand for COVID-19 vaccinations earlier this year and even just one month ago, Logan County Health District officials reported at their Wednesday afternoon meeting that they are seeing far fewer individuals at vaccine clinics in recent days and have even opened up the office for walk-in COVID-19 vaccines on specific days.
“It has been a really big change, going from serving about 300 people in some clinics three days a week, to this week, we only had eight people at our walk-in clinics,” Nursing Director Kelly Reaver said. Just one month ago, April 6, approximately 800 people were served during an drive-thru clinic hosted by the health district at the Logan County Fairgrounds.
“We think the previous pause on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine has hurt vaccination efforts in that regard and may have increased the vaccine hesitancy that some individuals are reporting. We’re also seeing that some people aren’t coming back for their second dose booster shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines as well.”
The nursing director and Logan County Health Commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott said they are developing related educational efforts with a goal of improving vaccination rates, including informing the public about expected side effects of the vaccine and also the importance of the second dose of the vaccination.
Dr. Hoddinott noted that Logan County’s percentage of residents who have received their first COVID-19 vaccination — 30.6 percent — is similar to other rural counties in the area. Those percentages for other surrounding counties include: 28 percent for Hardin County; 31.5 percent for Champaign County; 30.1 percent for Auglaize County; and 26.3 percent for Shelby County. Union County boosts a higher COVID-19 vaccination rate of 43.6 percent of residents receiving their first dose.
Relating to the walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinics, they are offered from 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Wednesday at the 310 S. Main St., Bellefontaine, office. Participants are recommended to take a copy of driver’s license and insurance card, if available.
Call (937) 651-6202 with questions. Appointments scheduled through https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/ will still be accepted.
In addition, Reaver said the agency is able to travel to businesses, group activities and other locations throughout Logan County to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to employees, family members and community members. If interested, call (937) 651-6244 for clinic scheduling information.
As of Wednesday, a total of 9,319 first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines have been administered by the health district, including the Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
For COVID-19 cases in Logan County, the health district reports a total of 126 cases in the last month, including 73 confirmed cases and 53 probable cases from April 12 through May 11. Most daily case counts continue to be in the single digits, similar to last month, officials said.
Also during the meeting, Deputy Health Commissioner Donna Peachey discussed arrangements that are being worked out involving the potential move of the Women, Infants and Children Program, from its current space at the health district to Logan County Job & Family Services. The move could occur as soon as October at the beginning of the new federal grant year.
She said the idea came about relating to the space concerns at the health district’s office for the number of programs that are housed in the small office building.
With the proposed move of the WIC Program, clients applying for benefits with Logan County Job & Family Services then would easily be able to apply for WIC at the same time, if applicable, saving them another trip, Peachey said.
Further details and the finalization of plans will be detailed at upcoming meetings.
The health commissioner interview committee also met in executive session for approximately 15 minutes. No action was taken after the session.
The committee was formed at the last meeting as the agency moves toward a transition plan for Dr. Hoddinott’s retirement.
Earlier this year, the board issued a six-month contract to Dr. Hoddinott, which continues through Oct. 1. He has served in the position since 2000.
Following his retirement date, Dr. Hoddinott is considering the possibility as serving as a medical director alongside a new health commissioner. In that scenario, that board would be able to hire a health commissioner who holds a master of public health degree.
In other action, the board:
• recognized Leica McGill, personnel/IT specialist, as the employee of the month;
• approved six-month probationary evaluations for Bailey Elkins, Sara Weeks and Mary Moser;
• approved a well variance request for James and Sue Greten, 9889 Fairview Ave., Lakeview; and
• accepted the following bids for the Water Pollution Control Loan Fund: $13,000 from Heater Excavating for the property of Jason Keller, 5010 Township Road 127, Zanesfield, to replace a failed home sewage system; and $12,100 from Heater Excavating for the property of Donna Peachey, 8466 Township Road 166, West Liberty, to replace a failed home sewage system.
The next meeting is 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 9.