The Wood County Health Department continues to stress the importance of vaccinations, especially in areas with low participation rates.
The department has been to all corners of the county, trying to provide accessible locations, said Health Commissioner Ben Robison at Thursday’s board meeting.
“Where we still see lower uptake, we want to continue to be there,” he said. “We’ve been trying to figure out how to get the vaccines there.”
Vaccine rates in the county are strong, with 53% of the county participating, Robison said.
More than two-thirds of adults 20 and older are fully vaccinated and 70% of adults 30 and older are vaccinated, he said.
“That’s of the eligible population,” Robison said.
There are pockets of lower vaccination numbers in the county, he said.
The Hoytville zip code shows 20.80% of those eligible over the age of 12 have been vaccinated, based on data provided by Robison.
The zip code that includes the area of Perrysburg, Rossford and Lemoyne shows 78.70% of those in the same demographics have been vaccinated.
Robison said that the list of residents is by zip codes.
There are several non-Wood County towns on the list, but there are Wood County residents in the zip codes associated with those communities, he said.
The Jerry City zip code has a 23.75% vaccination rate for those eligible over the age of 12.
Zip codes that include the communities of Custar/Hoytville, Northwood/Oregon and Bloomdale are in the 30 percentiles.
Zip codes that include Milton Center, North Baltimore, Tontogany, Deshler, Bradner/Woodside, Fostoria, Risingsun, Portage, Wayne, Weston and Gibsonburg/Rollersville are in the 40 percentiles.
Zip codes that include Cygnet/Jerry City, Rudolph/Wingston, Grand Rapids/Providence, Woodville, West Millgrove, Millbury/Woodland Forest, Walbridge/Moline, Northwood/Oregon/Rossford, Pemberville/New Rochester, Luckey and Genoa/Forest Park are in the 50 percentiles.
Bowling Green, Rossford and Haskins are in the 60 percentiles.
Robison said that the Ohio Department of Health is adding to its dashboard the locations as well as demographics of where vaccinations numbers are strong and weak.
The local department’s strategy will change once it determines whether it’s younger people or older people who still need to be vaccinated, he said.
The department is now reporting cases per 100,000 for the prior 14 days rather than the prior seven days.
Two positive cases have been added since the last report, Robison said, which means the county is experiencing low risk of infection.
There has been a lot of interest as the Delta variant spreads, with the first local case being reported in Lucas County.
Delta is more transmissible and in the United Kingdom more than 95% of cases are due to this variant, Robison said.
“We suspect that this will continue to grow in the United States,” he said. “There’s strong evidence the Delta variant is contained by this vaccine.”
Booster doses are not necessary now, Robison said.
“As of right now, the most recent data is not indicating we need booster doses.”
He said that he is encouraged by the low number of cases in the county.
“People can take pride in the hard work they’ve done to keep cases low.”
Vaccination opportunities will continue at the Perrysburg and Bowling Green farmers markets. Clinics are being scheduled at area schools and at the Wood County Fair, and vaccines will continue to be available at Wood County Hospital, pharmacies and at the health department.
Board member Dallas Ziegler wanted to know the message being shared with those people who fear long-term effects from the vaccine.
Robison said two- and six-month studies on the safety threshold have passed with tens of millions of doses administrated.
Cases of myocarditis – which is an inflammation of the heart — are very rare, and it took millions of doses to reach those low numbers. Patients can recover with treatment.
Compare those low incidents to the potential long-term chronic impacts of getting COVID, he said.
Board member Bob Midden added that the reason why parents are no longer afraid their children will get smallpox or polio is because of a vaccine.
He said risk is always relative, and people must weigh the risk of getting COVID and all of its health issues against the risk of getting vaccinated.
“Everything we do in life has a risk, and we’ve got to weigh the risks against the benefits,” Midden said.
He also asked if anything can be done with the department’s unused vaccines.
Amy Jones, director of health promotion and preparedness, said the county started with 12,000 doses of Pfizer, and will end July with 200 doses.
The county received 4,000 Johnson & Johnson doses and as of Friday had 2,300 left that will expire Aug. 7.
“We’re doing everything we can to move them,” Robison said. “We are on track to work through the doses.”
Robison also reported that the Centers for Disease Control has announced that those students returning in the fall who are fully vaccinated will not have to wear a mask.
However, every student who rides a bus will have to wear one, he said.