Trumbull Receives 2,300 Doses of Vaccine for Phase 1B

HOWLAND, Ohio — Members of area health and first responder agencies briefed the media Thursday on how the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations would roll out in Trumbull County.

Phase 1B of vaccinations begin Jan. 19, said James Pantalone, unified incident command for Trumbull County Fire Chiefs’ Association Incident Management Team. Pantalone joined other agency representatives during a press conference at the Howland Township Administration Building.

There are 2,300 doses of the vaccine for the Phase 1B rollout, which initially focuses on general public residents aged 80 years and older. Residents must make appointments to receive a vaccine. No walk-ins will be permitted, Pantalone said.

There are two vaccinations available. The Moderna vaccine is given to those 18 years and older, while the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine is given to those 16 years and older. The second dose of the Pfizer vaccine is administered after 21 days of the first dose, while the second dose of Moderna is after 28 days.

“When the state intiatilly distributes the vaccine, they’re withholding the amount of vaccine necessary to administer the second dose,” said George Snyder, planning section chief for the incident management team.

Dr. James Kravec, market chief clinical officer at Mercy Health Youngstown, said both vaccines are mostly similar.

“It doesn’t matter which one your receive,” he said. “They’re very similar. Outcomes are very similar. The profile is very similar.”

The Trumbull County Combined Health District is receiving 800 doses of Pfizer, while the Warren City Health District has 500 of Moderna, Pantalone said in an email distributed late Wednesday afternoon.

Mercy Health’s Howland Medical Center and Steward Health Care’s Trumbull Regional Medical Center are each receiving 200 doses of Pfizer. 

Each of the six Giant Eagle Pharmacies around Trumbull County are receiving 100 doses each of Moderna. The Giant Eagle locations are on 4700 Belmont Ave., 2700 Mahoning Ave., 2061 Elm Road, 8202 E. Market St., 7229 Warren Sharon Road and 48 Vienna Ave.   

After those 80 and older have received their vaccine on the week of Jan. 19, those 75 and older, as well as those with severe congenital development or early onset medical disorders will receive their first dose the week of Jan. 25. The week thereafter, those 70 years and older will receive the vaccine. The age range extends by five years each week thereafter.

During the week of Feb. 1, the vaccine will be available for employees of K-12 schools, provided the schools agree to return to in-person or hybrid learning by March 1 if they were operating entirely remote.

Vaccines are provided by the health district, the incident management team and the Warren City Health Department at no out-of-pocket cost to residents because the vaccines are provided by the state and federal government at no cost, Snyder said. And while private insurers, Medicare or Medicaid are permitted to be billed for the cost of administering the vaccine, Snyder said neither of the health departments will do that billing.

“Nobody is in this, at least from our area, at least the ones sitting here, are here to make money,” Snyder said. “We’re here to make sure the vaccine gets into arms.”

Shipments of the vaccine will arrive between Jan. 18 and 20, he noted.

“Providers are expected to use their supply within seven days,” Snyder said. “That is one of the directives that came out from the Ohio Department of Health.” 

Pantalone did not know how many people in Trumbull County received the vaccine in Phase 1A, which included first responders, front-line hospital workers and those working or living in congregate care sites such as nursing homes. However, he said there were 183 EMS providers that received the first dose at the Burghill Fire Department in late December, which was the first round of vaccinations.

Was there anyone out of that group that refused the vaccine?

“I think there’s a lot of caution by a lot of people, not just healthcare workers, but the general public there’s a lot of caution,” Pantalone said. “As we continue through these next few weeks and months, I think that caution will become very fruitful in them wanting to get the vaccine, but I respect the position of individuals.”

Kravec said taking the vaccine gets Trumbull County and the Mahoning Valley closer to normal.

“I think the more normalcy will come later this year, that’s my opinion based on the fact that we know that the number of vaccines will only get better,” he said. “It’s not fast enough, which as far as what we all want. They’re doing a great job getting the vaccines out there. I think the more people that can take the vaccine the closer we get to the herd immunity rate, and once we get to the herd immunity rate chances are we’ll have more normalcy.”

Pictured: Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a tray in a vaccination room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Copyright 2021 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.