University Hospitals first in Northeast Ohio to vaccinate 900 people with developmental disabilities

University Hospitals first in Northeast Ohio to vaccinate 900 people with developmental disabilities

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Hundreds of people most at risk in Cuyahoga County are getting the vaccine on this first weekend in February.

University Hospitals is the only hospital system in Northeast Ohio at this time providing the COVID vaccine to patients with developmental disabilities and other medical issues. Doctors say for area families it’s a form of relief, giving this vulnerable population freedom again.

David Pierce, 28 of Cleveland was just one of 900 people with developmental disabilities vaccinated by doctors at University Hospitals, “I think now that I’ve got the vaccine, I’m hoping to God that it does protect me.”

U.H. teamed up with the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities to vaccinate a population considered high-risk for the coronavirus. Doctor Robyn Strosaker is the Chief Operating Officer at University Hospitals – Cleveland Medical Center.

“I mean these are community members who maybe have sensory issues and have difficulty wearing masks or may struggle a little bit with social distancing. Handwashing regularly is maybe needed and so they’re particularly vulnerable and high-risk for contracting COVID-19,” Dr. Strosaker said.

Emma Rath of Westlake had her nerves calmed when she learned a familiar face would administer her vaccine.

Doctor Nancy Bass has been the woman’s doctor for about 19 or 20 years, “Seeing Emma and being the one vaccinating her was beyond joy for me.”

Doctors say some of the patients didn’t fully understand what the vaccine was for, but their families were well informed and certainly thankful for a life-line in more ways than one. “I’ve had families today who haven’t been out of the house much at all since the COVID started.

So, it’s approaching 11 months now, and they were thrilled and some had tears. People, saying we feel like we’re going to be able to get our life back. This is why we’re here,” Doctor Strosaker said. “It’s the most important thing we can be doing for our community right now.”

University Hospitals will vaccinate another 900 people with developmental disabilities in the next few weeks for a total of 1800 people.

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