COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Columbus Public Health has reopened its mass vaccination clinic at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.
With Ohio currently in the bottom 10 nationwide in terms of vaccination rates, local health leaders are encouraging more central Ohioans to get their shots.
“I’ve been nervous,” Ashley Steier said. “Terrified.”
Steier has not been alone when it comes to vaccine hesitancy.
“I’ve been debating and stuff,” Steier adds.
But for Steier, her outlook began to change when the virus hit home.
“My step-daughter has caught it three times already, so I’m definitely not trying to be down and out and be quarantined away from my kids,” Steier said.
Steier is one of the hundreds of central Ohioans already scheduled to roll up their sleeves at CPH’s two-day vaccination clinic.
“We think this is a good opportunity for those who have transportation to come get their vaccine from us in a very safe environment and we can get a lot of doses in a short period of time,” Columbus Health Commissioner Dr. Mysheika Roberts said.
As Ohio’s COVID-19 case numbers continue to reach new levels, Roberts warns we are still in the midst of the omicron surge.
Ohio’s 21-day average has climbed to more than 22,000 cases, and with just over 60% of the state starting the vaccination process, Roberts said this is the best way to vaccinate as many people as possible.
“It’s not what we thought. We didn’t think we’d be here in January 2022 needing to go back to the Celeste Center, but here we are,” Roberts said.
Overcoming that hesitancy has been a challenge for many.
For Steier, who suffers from lupus, it was ultimately the advice of health care experts that swayed her to get the shot.
“Asking different doctors. Urgent care doctors, my mom. My mother is an STNA, so I had her advice too,” Steier said.
Steier’s school-aged daughter joined her on Wednesday, receiving her first dose of the vaccine as well. Steier’s son is scheduled to do the same on Thursday.
“It’s better to know that they’re protected, and I don’t have to worry about them catching it,” Steier said, adding she initially planned to wait to vaccinate her children.
Steier said she felt great afterward, even easier than the flu shot, adding she encourages others to do the same.
“Go out and get the shot. It’s not as bad as you think it is,” Steier said
CPH’s two-day vaccination clinic is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
Appointments are encouraged, but walk-ins and drive-ups are welcome as well.