ASHLAND -- Older adults and those most vulnerable to COVID-19 are asked to register online as the Ashland County Health Department prepares for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program.
Ashland County residents age 65 or older, work for a K-12 school or have severe developmental, medical or congenital disorders may now register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the health department’s website.
The health department will receive the registration forms and contact those who signed up as to when they can receive the vaccine.
“There has to be a very strategic approach to this so none of the vaccine is wasted. Once you open it, must be used in six hours, if it’s Moderna,” said Loretta Cornell, a registered nurse with the ACHD.
The ACHD is following statewide guidelines when individuals are able to receive the vaccine.
The vaccine distribution timeline for Phase 1B of Ohio's vaccination program is set to begin next week with those ages 80 and older, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
The week of Jan. 25, vaccinations will open up to those age 75 and older; the week of Feb. 1, vaccinations will be available for those age 70 and older; and the week of Feb. 8, vaccinations will open up for those age 65 and older.
DeWine has also indicated the COVID-19 vaccine will be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders on Jan. 25.
For school personnel, vaccinations will begin Feb. 1 -- providing the school districts commit to going back to full in-person or hybrid learning by March 1. Currently, all school districts in Ashland County are operating in-person or hybrid.
The COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be delivered by next Friday to four locations in Ashland County: The Ashland County Health Department, UH Samaritan Medical Center, Appleseed and Drug Mart on Claremont Avenue.
Vaccinations will begin promptly afterwards, likely no later than the following day.
Vaccine providers are not expected to vaccinate everyone in each age group in one week. As new age groups are authorized to receive vaccinations, previous age groups will continue receiving the vaccine.
More on Ashland County’s Vaccination Process
As of Monday, 332 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine had been distributed in Ashland County. This equates approximately 20 percent of the Tier 1A vaccinations in Ashland County, according to the ACHD.
Vaccinations for this group, which includes first responders, front line workers, nursing homes and those in congregate care settings, will continue as Tier 1B vaccinations begin. These individuals also can register for the vaccination at the health department’s website.
The local health department has only received and distributed the Moderna vaccine.
“There’s been people in tears, so grateful for the opportunity to be vaccinated. They’ve been so excited and appreciative,” ACHD public health emergency manager Sheila Pryor said.
Those who receive the vaccine are asked to continue taking precautionary measures, such as social distancing and mask wearing. The staff at the ACHD emphasized that it’s still unknown if a vaccinated person can carry and spread the virus to someone who is not vaccinated.