CHILLICOTHE — The Adena PACCAR Medical Education Center will begin administering 2,500 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine each week starting March 31.
The site is one of 16 clinics opening across the state as part of Governor Mike DeWine’s mass vaccination effort. For the most part, the jab will be the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — which doesn’t require a second dose. As long as the vaccine arrives on schedule, the governor anticipates all but two locations opening next week.
Since Jan. 20, Adena’s vaccination program has been operating out of the PACCAR center. Depending on the supply they receive from the Ohio Department of Health, they can administer between 300-900 doses a week. So far, they’ve vaccinated 5,070 members of the public.
As one of the state’s designated vaccination clinic sites, Adena will soon be able to administer between 2,000 and 4,000 vaccines each week.
Moving forward, the health system will only be offering Johnson & Johnson. Previously, they had been giving the Moderna two-dose vaccine. As of March 25, Adena has fully vaccinated 2,110 people. There are an additional 3,000 who will return for their second dose next month.
Vaccinations in Ross County began in December 2020 starting with high-risk individuals and those working in healthcare.
To date, 2,200 Adena staff members have received a vaccine and 2,014 are fully vaccinated, according to Communications Manager Jason Gilham. At the Chillicothe VA, more than 13,200 doses of the Moderna vaccine have been administered to veterans and staff.
Then, it opened up to more members of the public based on age, pre-existing conditions or occupation. Ohio was also one of the first states to prioritize school workers for the shot. Now, Ohioans 16 and older are eligible.
In Ross County, 3,212 people started their vaccine during the week of March 14, according to the Ross County Health District. The same week, 2,039 different people completed received both doses.
There have been 246 cases of COVID-19 in Ross County this month and 38 were hospitalized — a slight increase from February.
In March 2020, only two coronavirus cases had been reported in Ross County. Now the number stands at 6,269.
But since vaccination efforts have been underway, there has been a downward trend of cases in the community. In January 2021, there were 1,284 COVID-19 cases, and last month the number had decreased to 408.
With even fewer cases to date, state and local leaders believe that it’s the right time to loosen some restrictions while continuing to remain diligent in the fight against COVID-19.
On St. Patrick’s Day, DeWine visited a vaccine clinic at Ohio University Chillicothe’s Shoemaker Center and said this summer would be better than the last. He hinted at upcoming guidance on events like prom, graduation, festivals, baseball games — even the Ross County Fair.
Just a few days later, Adena eased visitor restrictions.
“We recognize how important family, friends and support persons are to a patient’s recovery, and we’re pleased to be able to welcome more people back into our facilities,” said Chief Clinical Officer Kirk Tucker, MD. “As we continuously review all available data, we felt like this was the right time to loosen some of our visitor restrictions as our hospitalizations related to COVID-19 decrease and more people in our communities are being vaccinated.”
However, officials affirm the importance of continuing to wear masks, practice social distancing and handwashing until more of the public can be vaccinated.
DeWine has stated he will not lift health orders until the state rate is 50 new cases per 100,000 residents. Over the past two weeks, Ohio has reported a rate of 146.9 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents.
Other than the mass vaccination site in Chillicothe, other locations will open in Ada, Athens, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Lima, Mansfield, Marietta, Maumee, Steubenville/St. Clairsville, Tallmadge, Wilmington and Youngstown.
Appointments are required at all of the mass vaccination sites and can be made by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov or by calling 833-427-5634.
To schedule a vaccine through the Ross County Health District, visit http://rosscountyhealth.org/.
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This article originally appeared on Chillicothe Gazette: Adena PACCAR Medical Education Center to open as a mass vaccination site Wednesday