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Tuscarawas County Health Department closes vaccine waitlist for now

Updated: Feb. 25, 2021 at 11:13 PM EST
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TUSCARAWAS COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - There is a limited amount of COVID-19 vaccine supply available and some waiting lists across northeast Ohio are full.

The Tuscarawas County Health Department recently stopped accepting names on its vaccine waitlist for adults 65 and older.

Every day is busy at the health department, where COVID-19 vaccinations continue.

Snow doesn’t stop their mass curbside vaccine clinics.

This past Saturday, they vaccinated 390 people in one day.

“But much like the state as a whole, here in Tuscarawas County, the supply of vaccine is extremely limited,” said Jennifer Demuth, the director of health promotion & community relations at the Tuscarawas County Health Department.

Health workers at a mass vaccine clinic at Tuscarawas County Health Department.
Health workers at a mass vaccine clinic at Tuscarawas County Health Department.(Tuscarawas County Health Department)

She said they aren’t seeing the virus spread as badly now as it was at the end of last year.

They were overwhelmed at the time with cases and some staff had to quarantine.

“For a rural county, in November and December, we were seeing 100, 150 new cases daily. And we saw our deaths from Covid-19 go from about 100 at the beginning of December, to over 200 by the end of January. So we were heavily impacted for a county of only about 92,000 people,” Demuth said.

Now that the vaccine is available to an expanded group of Ohioans, their waitlist is full.

“So we have a lot of people on our waitlist and everyone is in a hurry to get a vaccine. We’re so thankful there’s a good interest in getting vaccinated,” Demuth said.

About a week ago, the Tuscarawas County Health Department had 5,000 people on their COVID-19 vaccine waitlist for those 65 and older.

Officials said that has now dropped to about 4,000 people.

So the health department decided to close its wait list for people 65 and up to focus on getting them vaccinated.

They also made this decision because the Ohio Department of Health plans to launch a central vaccine registration website for Ohioans soon, so they’ll transition to that system for the next distribution phase.

“It’s still a large number and just not enough vaccine to go around. So we are definitely looking forward to a larger supply being available so we can help more people get this life saving serum,” Demuth said.

Demuth said vaccine distribution has gone very well and as of Tuesday, they’ve distributed 3,545 vaccines-- which is about 35 percent of all vaccines given in the county.

“Yes, we’re still very busy, but it’s a more positive side of things because we can deliver this hope to people and the opportunity to be vaccinated,” she said.

Just a reminder if you’re trying to sign up for a vaccine, there are other providers like pharmacies you can check with for an appointment.

They have been inundated with appointment requests too.

Health officials said it’s going to take several weeks to get people 65 and up vaccinated.

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