DELAWARE COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — With more than 30% of its residents having started or completed the COVID-19 vaccination process, Delaware County leads the state.
That is 5% higher than the statewide average of 25% as of Wednesday, according to the Ohio Department of Health COVID-19 vaccine dashboard.
Delaware Public Health District Commissioner Shelia Hiddleson attributes that to the vaccination clinics they hold six days a week and the majority of residents having close access to healthcare.
“We have a clinic every single Saturday, and a lot of time, we have a Sunday clinic also. I think one of the things that does do is give an opportunity to those who work Monday through Friday an opportunity to come and get the vaccine whereas some other areas are not able to do that,” Hiddleson said.
“The other thing that probably plays a little bit bigger picture is, in Delaware County we do have the majority of our community do have access to healthcare, and so they do have opportunities to get that vaccine. Whereas in some of our smaller counties, perhaps in some of our more rural counties , they may not have the access that we do here in Delaware County.”
A number that widely exceeds the statewide average is the percentage of the elderly vaccinated in Delaware County. More than 80% of those 65+ are vaccinated. The statewide average is less than 70%.
“We were very strict in the beginning of not allowing anyone else in, and while we didn’t make a lot of friends during that time, we really truly did reject those people in our registration process that didn’t meet the criteria,” Hiddleson stated.
And for the elderly who needed assistance getting appointments scheduled or transportation, they leaned on their community partners at SourcePoint who work with that population on a regular basis.
“We worked really closely with them to make sure we got the word out, people got registered,” she said. “They’re still in fact helping us. We’re doing a clinic today in partnership with them where we have a library and SourcePoint call people, particularly in that age group that didn’t have access to the Internet, get them registered. They worked with Delaware County transit to get transportation to a clinic in order to get those people vaccinated that perhaps had those barriers getting that vaccine, and that’s just been really important to us.”