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Vaccinations slowing in county

Health director: Turnout for student event below expectations

Lawrence County Health director Georgia Dillon told the Lawrence County Commission at Tuesday’s meeting that number of people turning out for COVID-19 vaccinations in the county has slowed.

Dillon said, to date, 17,444 vaccinations have been delivered by the health department, amounting to about 23.06 percent of the population.

Dillon said this number does not include vaccinations by King’s Daughters and Cabell-Huntington hospitals or the U.S. Veterans Administration.

“Our percentage is very low in comparison to what it could be,” Dillon said.

Dillon attributed the drop in vaccine turnout to the temporary pause in the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, which was due to extremely rare cases of blood clots.

Six cases were reported in the 6.8 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine delivered across the nation.

“There are a lot of people afraid of the vaccine,” she said.

She said vaccination rates were also down in Scioto County, who had to send 3,000 unused doses back due to low demand.

She said this has not been the case in Lawrence County.

“We have been able to continue to get the vaccine out,” she said

Dillon said that the health department had recently hosted an event at their South Point clinic in which schools bussed in 16-18-year-old students to receive the Pfizer vaccine.

“We had hoped for higher,” she said of the turnout, for which parents had to approve. “We thought maybe we would vaccinate 500 students.”

She said about 200 students had received the vaccine. The county has about 2,000 students between the ages of 16 and 18.

The department had scheduled the clinic for the vaccine so that students could receive both doses of the Pfizer shot before proms and graduations take place.

Dillon said the Pfizer vaccine is the only one recommended for teenagers.

She said the department is continuing to host clinics for both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Students can take advantage of the Pfizer clinic, she said, and walk-ins are welcome. The Moderna vaccine is for those age 18 and above.

Information about these will be posted on the department’s Facebook page or those interested can contact their office.

She said they would also be working with the National Guard to administer the vaccine to seniors in Sherman Thompson Towers in Ironton and were expecting to deliver 50 doses.

“We hope that everybody continues to support these efforts and that people will be able to get the vaccine,” Dillon said.

Dillon also spoke of possible variants of the virus in the county. She said the department had sent a specimen to the Ohio Department of Health for identification.

In other business, the commission:

• Approved a renewal of a flood plain permit for Quinn Land Development on County Road 107.

• Approved appropriations submitted by county administrator.

• Approved a transfer of $50,000 requested by the county administrator.

• Approved two EMS status changes — for Jeffrey Kirkendoll and Judy Land to go from part-time to full-time paramedic.

• Approved a new organizational chart for commission employees.

• Met in executive session to discuss personnel matters, with no action taken.

• Heard from Stephanie Burcham, outreach coordinator for Ohio University, who discussed Ohio Giving Day, a fundraising event held this week for the school in which donations were made to the general scholarship fund and Workforce Success Support Fund at the school.