TROY — With the first week of vaccines available to the public under their belt, Miami County Public Health (MCPH) staff — and some community members — believe the clinics are off to a good start.
MCPH, and area hospitals and clinics, began administering the COVID-19 vaccine to those 80 and older on Tuesday, Jan. 19, as the first phase of 1B in the state’s vaccination plan.
Beginning Monday, already scheduled appointments continue with those 80 and older, but now include those 75 and older as well.
According to MCPH Health Educator Vicky Knisley-Henry, with the help of staff and volunteers from the Medical Reserve Corp., the processes they put in place are working. She said as of Friday, Jan. 22, everyone that signed up for a vaccine also came to their appointment.
“We really are seeing a great response from this 1B population. They are excited to be receiving the vaccine and we are just as excited to be able to offer it.
“We don’t have anyone waiting to get checked in or anything like that when they are here for their appointment,” Knisley-Henry said. “We are getting people checked in, vaccine given, waiting their 15 minutes, and getting them on their way.”
Knisley-Henry said MCPH has established signage and escorts from the parking lot all the way through the process.
“We have people manning the parking lot during the hours of the clinic to assist people. We are also meeting people at their car to help them in if they need assistance. We also have multiple wheelchairs and staff to help get people through the whole process if they need that assistance,” Knisley-Henry said.
Knisley-Henry said staff can even help register county residents by phone or on their computer by phone if needed.
“Really, anything we can do to help people get signed up we are doing,” she said.
Troy residents Nelson and Nancy Frantz said their experience at the health department couldn’t have been any better, and praises the staff and volunteers.
“What a great job the health department is doing giving the COVID injections. We went to the health department Thursday and it was so well organized and everyone was so kind and caring,” Nancy Frantz said. “Thank you to the head of the department and all those who helped make this a positive experience. No long lines and on time with their time schedules.”
Art Disbrow, a Troy resident since 1984, agrees. He said there was help for him and his wife as soon as they pulled in the parking lot, and throughout the entire process.
“They obviously had a plan. Everything was just like clockwork,” Disbrow said. “I don’t know if the rest of the country is the same, but Troy, Ohio is an A-plus.”
Disbrow said receiving the vaccination was “one of the highlights of my life.”
“I’m walking on cloud nine that I have one of those shots in me and a plan for the second,” Disbrow said. “After we have dealt with this for a year and knowing the survival rates with people my age, and the death process … I’m just so thankful.”
Disbrow, who said they have almost completely remained out of the public since the pandemic began, said he now has hopes of finally seeing his first great-grandson that was born in November.
“There will now be a day,” Disbrow said.
Knisley-Henry said there were no serious adverse effects to the vaccinations given through their office during the first week. She said they are hearing reports of injection site soreness, mild fatigue, some body aches and a few reports of low-grade fevers, none lasting more than one day, she said.
“But these are all immune responses to vaccines and normal. I received feedback from a visitor telling me her 80-year-old friend received her vaccine the day before and they were playing tennis that morning. So that is great news,” Knisley-Henry said.
Kinsley-Henry said the lack of vaccinations is the biggest hurdle and is a state-wide issue. When more vaccinations become available, residents can visit miamicountyhealth.net or call the hotline at (937) 573-3461, which will be staffed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday-Friday. A staff member will call residents who sign up online to schedule an appointment.
“We would just like to remind community members to please be patient. The vaccine supply is very limited and our appointments do fill up fast,” Knisley-Henry said. “Don’t get discouraged and keep trying each week. There are also additional vaccine providers in Miami County that are offering appoints so people are encouraged to use any provider.”