COLUMBUS (WCMH) – “I’m ready and anxious,” Karyl Junkala said before a nurse at Bethany Village nursing home in Centerville rolled up her sleeve Monday afternoon and injected her left arm with the coronavirus vaccine.
“I think it’s really a wonderful thing,” Junkala said. “I’m very pleased to be part of it.”
Minutes later at Andover Village nursing home in Ashtabula, resident Brenda Monteith received the shot from a Walgreens pharmacist.
“I’m ready to go. I’ve been ready to go,” she said.
As nursing home residents, Monteith and Junkala are considered among the most vulnerable Ohioans and thus a top priority in the first phase of the state’s vaccinations.
6,733 people in Ohio as of Monday have received their first of two doses of the coronavirus vaccine (about 0.06% of the population), according to newly published data by the Ohio Department of Health.
Per ODH’s dashboard, 6,320 (94%) are residents of Ohio and 312 (6%) are nonresidents. Residency was not reported for 101. The dashboard allows users to explore vaccination numbers by county, date, age group, ethnicity, race and sex.
More than 2 million people worldwide have received doses of the vaccine, including about 550,000 in the United States, according to Bloomberg News’ count.
Ohio is in its second week vaccinating people with Pfizer’s vaccine, which is two doses 21 days apart and which must be stored at “ultracold” temperatures of minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit. Ohio’s first vials of the Moderna vaccine arrived on Monday. It requires two doses 28 days apart but only needs to be kept at minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit, about the temperature of a refrigerator freezer.
Ohio is in Phase 1A of its vaccination program, which targets “critical groups” that include front-line health care workers; EMS responders; and residents and staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, psychiatric hospitals and veterans homes.
As vaccinations ramp up in the Buckeye State it will be months, however, before doses are available to every one of Ohio’s 11.7 million residents, and thus put a dent in the state’s daily coronavirus numbers.
“It’s much too soon for us to expect vaccines to be bending that curve,” Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Monday during Gov. Mike DeWine’s coronavirus briefing. “It still depends upon you and me to be doing the good work that we began before Thanksgiving.”
Vanderhoff also recommended that even people who got sick with the virus still get the vaccine when it becomes available.
“Rather than guess about the duration or the impact of immunity that comes from being infected, we’re recommending that everyone consider vaccination for COVID regardless of prior infection,” he said.
On a national level, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that “it may be closer to midsummer, early fall” before the vaccine is widely available.
Pfizer’s vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95% and has been approved for people 16 and older. Moderna’s vaccine has an efficacy rate of 94.1% and has been approved for people 18 and older.
The Ohio National Guard will also help administer vaccines after receiving federal approval this weekend.
“This is significant because not only does it give us more flexibility as we figure out how to get the population vaccinated,” Maj. Gen. John C. Harris Jr., adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard told DeWine on Monday, “but it helps us reach some of those hard-to-reach areas of the state, some of the hard-to-reach populations that may otherwise have difficulty getting the vaccine.”
Harris added that vaccines for the Guard’s own soldiers and airmen are coming in the next 12-24 hours.