DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Miami Valley health officials say the vaccine rollout is going smoothly at the local level despite being behind schedule nationally. The federal government promised at least 20 million vaccinations by now, but so far a fraction of those have been administered.
The numbers are similarly low across Ohio. The percentage of people vaccinated in Montgomery County is actually lower than the statewide figures, but Public Health of Dayton and Montgomery County says it’s been smooth process for the vaccines that are going out.
They’re hoping for more supply in order to reach more people, but they’re urging patience because the process to get the first groups vaccinated could take months.
Dan Suffoletto is the Public Information Supervisor for Public Health of Dayton-Montgomery County. He says, “So far Public Health in Montgomery County has given out to the 1A group 2500 vaccinations. So that’s pretty good so far.”
Another 4,000 doses have been administered by hospitals to frontline workers, and by pharmacies to nursing homes residents and staff. But the overall number of vaccines administered remains low. Just a few hundred are being given each day, in Clark and Miami counties it’s just dozens. Statewide a little more than 1% of the population has started the vaccine sequence.
Suffoletto says, “We are encouraged that were seeing a lot of people in that one a group who want to get vaccinated. So that’s a good thing. And it’s going to be a process that’s going to be going on for many months as we work through all the different priority groups.”
Months ago the federal government promised at least 20 million vaccinations by the end of the year, but the CDC says as of this week just 4.2 million Americans had gotten shots.
Dr. Anthony Fauci of the National Institutes of Health says, “What I’m saying right now is that, A, we’re not where we want to be. We’ve got to do much better. But B, let’s give it about a week or two into January to see if we can pick up momentum that was slowed down by the holiday season.”
The state of Ohio remains in phase 1A, meaning only specific populations are eligible for the vaccine, not the general public even if they want it.
WATCH when the state of Ohio could move to phase 1B of the vaccine rollout and expand who is eligible to get the vaccine:
Suffoletto says, “At this point we’re asking peoples patience to wait until it’s their turn to get that vaccination. But also encourage those who are eligible at this time to get vaccinated.”
In response to the slow rollout, the chief of Operation Warp Speed has floated the idea of cutting the Moderna dosages in half to speed up the process. But Dr. Fauci and others say right now the problem isn’t increasing the supply, it’s getting the current supply to people who need it.