CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - The Cleveland Clinic began administering COVID-19 vaccines to eligible seniors on Tuesday as part of Ohio’s Phase 1B plan.
The clinic was given about 3,400 doses this week; distribution is dictated by the state, which is at the mercy of the federal plan.
Hospital officials say there are currently about 80,000 eligible patients within their system.
“As you can imagine, that math doesn’t quite work out and creates additional challenges for us,” said Dr. Adrienne Boissy, the Chief Experience Officer at Cleveland Clinic.
As a result, the staff is contacting the oldest and most vulnerable patients that are eligible -- by phone and online -- to coordinate vaccines.
“The best we can do is make sure everyone knows how much we care about them and how excited we are that the community wants to be vaccinated,” Boissy said.
“This is an answer to my prayers,” said 95-year-old Mary Kathleen McGorray, one of the first to receive the coveted shot at the Clinic on Tuesday.
She has several children and grandchildren, including one who is getting married in August.
“I wanted to be able to go to that,” McGorray said before mentioning her only great-grandchild that lives with family in Hawaii. “All I can do now is look at pictures of her, so I’m dying to hold her.”
Others are just hopeful and optimistic that life will soon return to normal.
“It will be nice to get back to normal and have a usual day,” said 98-year-old Ann Woehrmann.
She, too, was among the initial group of patients.
“I have lived a long time and never saw anything like this,” Woehrmann said. “It’s totally beyond my imagine because I did live through the [Great] Depression, World War II, and going to the moon.”
Among the eldest to get the shot on Tuesday was 104-year-old Lucile Gasho.
“I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was over before I knew it,” she said. “I hope everyone gets one so we can get rid of this.”
The Cleveland Clinic urges patients who are not contacted for a vaccine to remain patient pending further guidance on availability.