The Summit County Public Health mass vaccination at the Summit County Fairgrounds on Saturday was not a perfect test run, but it did not seem to be a problem for some of the 1,500 vaccinated people.
After an early glitch in the state’s vaccine management solution system (used in high-volume vaccination sessions), the event found its foot and returned to schedule by noon.
Adjustments to the new system were swift, said Chris Barker, health department emergency preparedness and compliance supervisor.
“It’s flowing pretty well,” he said.
Forty-six public health workers, law enforcement officers, and volunteers were waiting for mass vaccination, Barker said.
If they noticed a delay, the newly vaccinated patients interviewed in the field did not seem to care. Some have argued that the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is preferred because it requires only one vaccination.
Akron’s Joseph Burgan, 36, said he was enrolled in the clinic on Saturday after investigating the vaccine and overcoming early concerns about side effects.
“Both I and my wife pondered it for a while,” he said. “I wanted to study different vaccines.”
Unlike others who were vaccinated at the trade fair, Burgan wasn’t convinced he wanted a J & J product.
He said he was concerned about the low protection rate compared to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. But the one-shot advantage and the timeliness of the Saturday event convinced him.
“I feel some relief knowing that both I and my wife are vaccinated,” he said.
According to Burgan, his wife has been vaccinated with Pfizer and is considering a vaccine for her children, especially her eldest daughter, who will turn 16 in June.
“We will talk more about it with her [and] Give her some thoughts on why she should get it, “he said.
He said he wanted her to make a decision.
Mary Groen of Green said she was happy to receive the J & J vaccine after receiving the shot with her husband Kevin.
“I like the simplicity of a single dose, so that’s fine,” she said.
Her husband, who works in the Green Local School District, said he had been vaccinated with Moderna last month. One of the adult children was scheduled for a shot at the trade fair in the afternoon.
“We believe in science,” said Kevin Grown.
Sharon and Larry Nolan of Tall Mudge were infected with COVID-19 after attending a wedding in Virginia last August. Both said they wanted to be vaccinated, even though they had recovered from the coronavirus.
“We visited four different websites for a month and waited for a shot,” says Sharon Nolan.
It was like winning a jackpot when they were able to enroll in the clinic on Saturday.
“This was opened, Bingo! Okay,” said Larry Nolan.
I didn’t have a strong preference for any of the three vaccines, but the J & J version was fine.
“We didn’t care,” said Sharon Nolan. “It’s better to get only one shot.”
Rick LeBlanc, a resident of Stowe, said he was confident he had COVID-19 twice (once in December 2019 and once in May 2020).
LeBlanc said he wasn’t waiting for a third bout of the virus and was on the waiting list for over a month. He jumped at the chance when the slot opened on Saturday.
“I said,’Great. It’s a one-time deal,” he said. “I was going to get whatever I could get.”
Duane Wetzel of Tallmadge said she decided to get the J & J vaccine on Saturday, primarily with the advice of her daughter, who holds a master’s degree in public health.
He knew that the vaccine was less effective than his competitors, but decided to “roll the dice a bit.”
“My idea was to wait until things settled down and do it,” he said.
Bradford Rockefeller, also from Stowe, said he would like to be vaccinated as soon as he qualifies. He said he saw the sacrifice that the coronavirus took after clearing the nursing homes run by the company he worked for.
“It broke me,” he said. “When I thought one problem was fixed, another problem occurred.”
The experience persuaded him to pursue another career. He is currently involved in promotion in the professional wrestling industry.
“It hit that switch, which isn’t guaranteed tomorrow,” he said.
Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda said she was happy with the pace of the clinic on Saturday.
“It’s nice to see people here vaccinated,” she said. “It’s good to see people want it.”
She said more than 30% of the counties started or completed COVID-19 vaccination. As supplies become more open and a higher proportion of residents are vaccinated, she expects health agencies to reach out to fence sitters who are undecided to be vaccinated.
The Department of Health will hold another clinic at the trade fair on Wednesday, this time immunizing 2,500 people. An additional 1,000 J & J vaccines will be given on Thursday and 1,500 on Saturday and Sunday.
Future clinic registrations will begin on Monday, she said.
The required appointments are scheduled through the state scheduling portal. gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov, Enter the zip code 44278 in the search bar or call 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634) or 330-926-5795.
Please leave a message to Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or email him at aashworth @ gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @newsalanbeaconj.
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