CLEVELAND, Ohio – Mayor Frank Jackson equates the development of his administration with a coronavirus vaccination program to build a house and design at the same time.
The state has said who should be vaccinated – and in what order – but it is left to local health departments to figure out how to do this, according to the mayor. And Cleveland designed a phased release, as dictated by the state, using the doses as they were provided by the state.
“We are doing our job and we are doing it in a very systematic way,”
Cleveland.com and The Plain Dealer interviewed Jackson; Brian Kimball, Interim Director of Public Health; and Tracy Martin-Thompson, head of prevention, intervention and the opportunity for young people and young adults, to gain a better understanding of the scale of the vaccination program in the city and how it is carried out.
How many doses of vaccines has the city received so far?
The state has sent a total of 6,000 doses of Moderna vaccine in three different deliveries. For safety reasons, vaccines should be stored in an undiscovered area.
How many people have been vaccinated by the city health department so far?
By Wednesday, the city had vaccinated 1,240 people with the first of two shots. Each person must return within 28 days to receive their second shot.
From December 24 to December. 29, the city vaccinated 660 people. Another 580 shots were fired from Wednesday. Another 400 vaccines are expected by the end of the week.
Who has been vaccinated so far?
Those who received the vaccines were initially EMS responders and firefighters, non-hospital health care providers, and some nursing and medical students.
Also among the first phase are about 2,500 employees and residents of more than 270 common housing centers in the city that are not part of federal pharmacy programs. It will soon be followed by people aged 65 and over, school staff and people with disabilities.
How many city workers have been vaccinated?
About 40 percent of the city’s 1,045 EMS responders and firefighters were vaccinated during the week of Dec. 24-29, according to Martin-Thompson. She said it was unclear how many had refused to be vaccinated. Some are taking pictures this week, while others may be vaccinated later, she said.
Does the city advise employees to get vaccinated?
Yes, according to Jackson, but getting the vaccine is not a condition of work.
“Our job is to administer it,” he said. “Their job is to make the choice.”
Jackson said the city is more focused on how to build infrastructure so the city can vaccinate people according to state guidelines.
Where are the photos given?
The city has created a vaccination zone in Public hall, which employs about 70 city officials and volunteers. With the arrival of more doses of the vaccine from the state and other phases of the program, the city expects opened six additional vaccination zones, Jackson said. The venues probably include some of the city’s 22 recreation centers, he said.
The plan is also to hire mobile units that can go into general settings, such as senior senior centers.
“We are building infrastructure, implementing the vaccine, but we are also working with partners trying to build cooperation,” Jackson said.
How are the meetings scheduled?
The city identifies those eligible for vaccination during each phase and plans meetings. One way the city authorities do this is to meet with health care providers and get a list of those workers who want to get shot, said Martin-Thompson.
Also, social workers will be deployed in housing centers to determine how many residents want shots and whether they can come to the vaccination center to receive them, or if a mobile unit needs to be sent.
Additional aspects of the planning process are still needed to be developed, Martin-Thompson said.
What happens at the vaccination site?
Registered persons are examined on arrival at the vaccination center to ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements. Medical screening is also performed to check for allergies and other conditions.
The shot is given and the recipient is observed for 15 minutes to check for side effects. The whole process takes about 45 minutes.
Jackson said staff were very careful about administering the vaccine and keeping proper records.
Have vaccines been discarded?
No. If at the end of the day, doses are not used as people failed to meet their appointments, vaccines were given on the site of employees who are in the group who are currently eligible to receive them, Kimball said.
Unused doses cannot be returned to refrigerators, and members of the Municipal Council last week asked if the health ministry was forced to discard the doses. Jackson said vaccines should not have been discarded.
How much will the vaccination program cost?
Jackson said the final price is unknown, “but we know whatever it is that we will have to bear that price.”