Fewer Than 1 in 2 Vaccinated Against COVID-19 in Most Ohio Counties – Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland, Ohio 2021-09-14 11:56:00 –

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  • Graham Stokes / OCJ
  • Groups opposed to mandatory vaccination will meet on the grounds of the Ohio Statehouse to discuss HB248, which bans mandatory vaccination and disclosure of vaccination status.

Less than one in two residents in 66 of 88 counties in Ohio have been vaccinated at least once for COVID-19, which has killed more than 661,000 Americans since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Low vaccination rates found by analysis of state data on Sunday indicate that the vast range of states remains vulnerable to the proliferation of disease-causing viruses, hyperinfectious variants. increase.

Vaccines are provided free of charge to recipients and have been widely available to the public since late March, suggesting that many of the population have not been vaccinated by choice.

Despite crescendos from hospitals and health authorities warning of increasingly scarce bed capacity and pandemic-tired staff, the low immunization rates in Ohio counties make some parts of the community safe. It emphasizes the frustration of some public health workers as they refrain from effective vaccines.

Pamela Riggs, Commissioner of the Sydney-Shelby County Health Department, the state’s third-lowest vaccinated county, said:

“I don’t know what else to say. It was a very frustrating experience.”

Last week, several children’s hospitals issued a dark warning that the proportion of children seeking intensive care for COVID-19 is increasing. According to the Ohio Hospital Association, in southern Ohio, only four ICU beds were available on Friday among general hospitals in the region.

Portsmouth Hospital, Southern Ohio Medical Center, Saturday’s social media post warned that the ICU was full And because it is “stretched to the limit,” crash and gunshot victims may not have a hospital bed when needed.

“What we’re experiencing is very realistic,” said the CEOs of nine hospitals or hospital networks in southern Ohio and West Virginia on Monday in a letter calling for community support for masks and vaccination. wrote.

“This is a medical issue, not a political one. Looking at patient data, the vast majority of hospitalized COVID patients are not vaccinated with COVID.”

In an interview last week, Sherikovachi, president of the Central Ohio Trauma System, reported a surge in hospitalizations due to COVID-19, as well as an increase in the number of people seeking care that she supervised in 36 counties last year. Stated. She said the increase in case rates in unvaccinated areas is predictable.

“Our community with the lowest vaccination rates is the one that has been hit hardest,” she said. “We need to continue to educate until people hear it. That’s the way forward.”

Ohio County
At the state level, 53% of Ohio (64% of adults) have been vaccinated against COVID-19 at least once. This is below the national proportion of 63% of vaccinated Americans (75% of American adults).

However, unvaccinated people are not randomly distributed throughout the state. State-wide data can be used to hide substantial vulnerability to outbreaks in specific counties with low vaccination.

Holmes County is located in the low end, and many inhabitants are Amish and tend to refrain from vaccination. Only 17% of the population is vaccinated.

According to state data on Sunday, the other 33 counties are generally small and rural, with immunization rates between 31% and 40%.

Some, such as Lawrence (33%), Vinton (35%), and Maegus (38%), do not have hospitals in the county and have developed COVID-19 for residents in need of urgent care. We are raising our stakes even further.

Delaware County is the only county in Ohio that has more than a national percentage. 67% of the population is vaccinated. Other cities and suburban counties, such as Lakes (60%), Kaiyahoga (58%), and Medina (58%), are tracking Delaware.

In addition to urban / rural divisions of population levels and vaccination rates, health data combined with 2020 election results reveal another pattern. The higher the percentage of residents who voted for President Donald Trump, the less vaccinated the county.

“Most of this was politicized early on, and this is not a political issue, this is a healthcare crisis,” Kobachi said.

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Biden vs. Dewin
Last week, President Joe Biden announced a new federal strategy to combat COVID-19. It is built around requiring large employers to request vaccinations from their employees or to test unvaccinated employees weekly.

Several Republican governors soon announced plans to file a proceeding to suspend their mission.

Governor Mike DeWine called Biden’s plan a “mistake,” but took a neutral position, avoiding a clear answer as to whether he would participate in the proceedings. on Monday, He told reporters that he spoke to Attorney General Dave Yost about the proceedings, but did not provide further details... Bethany McCorkle, Yost spokeswoman, did not respond when asked if Yost would sign the proceedings. She said Biden knew he was “acting illegally” and Yost was considering orders and related laws.

DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said on Monday that things like vaccine obligations “distract from the vaccine conversation aren’t particularly useful.” He said they inject politics into the equation, which complicates the persuasive effort.

When asked about low vaccine intake in most Ohio counties, he emphasized outreach and education as a way to higher vaccination rates. He opposed analyzing the scope of the vaccine against Trump’s vote.

“In a sense, this is the difference between a city and a rural area,” he said. “Through this process, when placing state-wide orders, we had to answer the question why bar closures apply to city clubs as well as local dive bars.”

Health officials harassed and exhausted
With more than 3,400 Ohio people currently hospitalized for vaccine-preventable illnesses, there is little evidence that there is a common cause for the general public to stop the virus. According to Tierney, about 53% of Ohio students attend schools with mask mandates because many are too young to be legally vaccinated. The conservatives who rule the General Assembly have sought a proceeding to suspend Biden’s mission. Some are pushing for legislation to significantly weaken Ohio’s immunization legislation.

Conflict A Tuscarawas County health commissioner wrote an open letter last month detailing an online harassment campaign. A photo of a 4-month-old baby circulating on the Internet.

At the Central Ohio Trauma Center, Kobachi said hospital workers were exhausted.

“Staff can only work 70 or 80 hours a week,” she said. “They’re burned out. They’ve been doing that since last year, and they’re doing COVID testing and COVID vaccines as well as hospitals and ERs. They’re burning out.”

Riggs of the Sydney Shelby Department of Health said he is trying to maintain morale by occasionally preparing pizzas and donuts for his employees. She tells them not to take it personally when people are not vaccinated or when the school ignores their mask recommendations (they did).

“You’re mostly afraid to speak loudly because you’re somewhat targeted,” Riggs said.

Originally published by Ohio Capital Journal.. Reissued here with permission.

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