Columbiana County Expects 1,000 Vaccine Doses before Christmas

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Hospitals in Columbiana County expect to receive their first shipment of vaccines for COVID-19 before Christmas, the Columbiana County Health District announced Wednesday.

“We have not been officially notified as to when the vaccine will arrive and the exact amount, but we expect approximately 1,000 doses to be allocated to our county in this first round,” Wes Vins, county health commissioner, said in a release. “Our county’s Vaccination Task Force is ramping up our infrastructure so we can quickly send these first doses to hospital caregivers, who are directly on the front lines.”

The first shipment will likely be of the Moderna vaccine, pending approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by the end of the week. The three health districts in the county will divide the vaccine supply between East Liverpool City Hospital and Salem Regional Medical Center, according to the release.

The vaccines will be for frontline workers at both hospitals per Ohio’s vaccination plan.

“Our county’s health districts and hospitals have been working in partnership for several weeks to develop a vaccine distribution plan and we are looking forward to launching our first phase, which is a priority distribution to those who are directly caring for COVID-19 patients,” Vins said. “We expect to receive an adequate supply of the vaccine in this first round to immunize the majority of these high priority health-care providers.”

Each hospital will coordinate its internal vaccine distribution process, according to the release.

East Liverpool City Hospital

The vaccination is a two-step process, said Dr. Gretchen Nickell, chief medical officer at East Liverpool City Hospital. Recipients must wait 21 to 28 days before receiving their second shot, or booster.

“It will take about five weeks from the time the first dose of the vaccine is administered to achieve full immunity,” Nickell said. “The vaccine is an important safeguard for our caregivers, who choose to be immunized and protect themselves in the fight against this virus.”

For the frontline workers who have been working since March, the initial vaccine doses “represent a much-needed symbol of hope,” added Dr. Anita Hackstedde, president and CEO of Salem Regional Medical Center.

“We plan on implementing a phased vaccination approach, in alignment with federal and state guidelines, to prioritize and offer the vaccine to direct caregivers first,” Hackstedde said. “In the coming weeks as supplies increase, we will expand our distribution and look forward to offering the vaccine as a crucial weapon against COVID-19.”

Specific details about the vaccine rollout are pending based on its unknown arrival date and the actual quantity to be shipped, noted Vins. A mass vaccination plan has been developed by the task force, he said, which includes distribution of the vaccine to the public at a future date, depending on when supplies become more available throughout Ohio.

The Columbiana County Vaccine Task Force members include the Columbiana County, East Liverpool and Salem City Health Districts, Community Action Agency, East Liverpool City Hospital, Salem Regional Medical Center and the Long-term Care Ombudsman Program

Pictured at top: Salem Regional Medical Center

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.