PARMA, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cuyahoga County Board of Health has received a shipment of about 4,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine; EMS workers will be among the first to receive the shots.
“This is a very emotional day for many of us, and a very momentous day,” said Medical Director Dr. Heidi Gullett.
Gullett and two other staffers at the Board of Health were vaccinated Wednesday at their headquarters in Parma.
“I think we’re all carrying around invisible weights and we don’t know how heavy they are,” said Romona Brazile, the Board’s Co-Director of Prevention of Wellness.
Brazile, a nurse, was also vaccinated.
She and the others who received the vaccine will administer the shots at clinics throughout the county.
“We are starting with our EMS workers. We have some clinics scheduled with them. I have to say, I’m very happy with that,” Brazile said. “They’ve been exposed since day one.”
She said they’ll follow the recommendations of the Ohio Department of Health during the initial phase, which will soon include group homes and other places where rapid community spread can occur.
“Ohio’s public health departments and hospitals are experts at managing mass vaccination clinics, and I am thankful we can turn to them to begin vaccinating Ohioans against COVID-19,” said Governor Mike DeWine.
The Board of Health will be able to order an undetermined amount of doses each week.
In the meantime, Dr. Gullett is standing firm in her messaging to the public.
“I don’t want this to be a time where people think, ‘I don’t need to wear a mask anymore, I don’t need to stop distancing, I can go meet indoors with groups.’ No. That’s going to be a long time from now, but we do want people to know this is a hopeful moment,” she told 19 News.
Just moments after receiving her vaccine, Brazile expressed relief.
“Seeing the light that we’ve been wanting to see — and it’s been hard because there have been some days where there’s not a lot of light, now it feels a little brighter,” Brazile added.
Local vaccine distribution is part of a coordinated effort with the Ohio Department of Health.