County rolls out vaccine plan for next phase

MIAMI COUNTY — State and county officials rolled out their plan Thursday morning for distributing COVID-19 vaccines in the next phase in Miami County.

Phase 1B of the statewide COVID-19 vaccine distribution will be for residents 80 and older, and will be offered by multiple providers within Miami County. The first 600 vaccines that will be distributed through Miami County Public Health were all scheduled within hours of the announcement.

“Every day we at Miami County Public Health try to make a difference in people’s lives that we serve,” Miami County Public Health Commissioner Dennis Propes said. “With these vaccination efforts, we will not only will we be making a difference, but we will be saving lives.”

Propes confirmed that all 600 vaccines had been scheduled as of 1:30 p.m. at Thursday’s Miami County Commissioner’s meeting.

Propes said those 80 and older have had the greatest loss and the greatest disruption in their lives because of the pandemic. Miami County has approximately 5,000 individuals that are 80or old. However, a good portion of those individuals live in skilled nursing facilities and were able to receive the vaccines in phase 1A.

“Because I know a lot of these folks 80 and over have hunkered down in their houses and really limited their outside exposure. So they have had to sacrifice a lot, and we will truly be saving their lives,” Propes said.

Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted dropped into the meeting, held via Zoom, to thank the public health team for their hard work during the pandemic and to reiterate the importance of residents receiving the vaccine. Husted said he knows that Miami County has been fighting the virus for 10 months now, being one of the first counties to have an outbreak in nursing homes.

Husted said there are three times as many people 80 and older that need that vaccine as there are vaccines available in the first week.

“We’re not used to dealing with scarcity. We are used to a world where if we want something we can get it. We are going to have to be patient and understanding and work with each other to get this done,” Husted said. “We want to prioritize it to those who are most likely to die without it and that’s the over 80 population starting out.”

Husted said it takes great coordination in order to get the vaccines out to the public, with the need for cold storage, the supply chain, and two shots needed for each individual.

“Miami County is ahead of the game from what we are seeing in a lot of places, but we know that execution, in the end, is the important part,” Husted said.

Miami County Public Health Emergency Coordinator Nate Bednar said there are two ways people can sign up for the vaccines when available through Miami County Public Health, which will be offered by appointment only in clinics at the Miami County Public Health offices, 510 W. Water St., Troy.
Those looking to register for future shipments, which will be announced as soon as MCPH knows how many vaccines they will receive, can visit miamicountyhealth.net when the vaccines are known to be available or by calling a hotline set up for residents at (937) 573-3461, which will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Those who sign up on the website will receive a phone call from a Miami County Public Health (MCPH) staff member to set up the appointment for the vaccine, Bednar said.

Bednar said the clinics will be scheduled about five minutes apart and social distancing and mask guidelines will be followed.

The first round of vaccines, which are no longer available, will be given Tuesday, Jan. 19, through Friday, Jan. 22. MCPH received 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine to be distributed in the first week, which requires a second shot 28 days after the initial dose and sign-ups for the vaccinations ended in five hours on Thursday.

Kettering Hospital Troy Hospital President Eric Lunde said having received only 100 doses of the vaccine for the first week, KHN partnered with MCPH to distribute them, which already was included in the 600 vaccines that were available.

“This vaccine represents hope. It also represents the ability to return to normalcy, getting back to many of the things we haven’t been able to enjoy for the past 10-plus months,” Lunde said.

Lunde said Kettering Health Network will work on a plan on a week-by-week basis depending on the number of vaccines they receive each week and more information will be available at ketteringhealth.org for online registration as it becomes available.

Upper Valley Medical Center Chief Medical Officer Dr. Scott Kanagy said the Premier facility received 400 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and will offer it to residents on-site. Those wishing to receive the vaccine at UVMC can go to PremierHealth.com/vaccine or call (937) 276-4141 between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. seven days per week to register for vaccination appointments.

“We’re planning to start vaccinating within 24 hours and distributing all within seven days, per state guidelines,” Kanagy said. “This just brings another hope of all healthcare providers in Miami County to be able to start vaccinating all of the public,” said Kanagy, who said Premier has already immunized thousands.

Kroger Little Clinics in Troy and Piqua also each received 100 doses of the vaccine. To register, visit their online locations for more information at thelittleclinic.com and enter your address for the location nearest you for updated information. Officials believe more will be posted on Saturday for by-appointment-only vaccinations at local Kroger locations.

“I truly believe 2021 is going to be the year of recovery for Ohio, not only from a health point of view from the coronavirus but to get our kids back in school, to get them educated and help them catch up from where they’ve fallen behind,” Husted said. “Get people back to work and give people peace of mind so they can begin to renew the lives that they left pre-COVID. Hopefully, we will be better and stronger as a result.”