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"Wear a Mask" Uptown sign

A roadsign on Court Street. Photo by Ben Peters

The Athens City-County Health Department (ACCHD) announced plans for coronavirus vaccine distribution.

The health department continues to receive a "very limited supply" of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for those who have been identified in Phase 1A, a tiered distribution system determined by the Ohio Department of Health, according to an Athens City-County Health Department press release. Phase 1A includes frontline health care workers, residents and staff of nursing homes and EMS workers.

The Athens City-County Health Department will begin vaccination for Phase 1B, which includes K-12 adult staff, people 65 years of age and older and people with congenital disabilities "as early as next week," the press release stated.

Gov. DeWine announced last week during a press conference that Phase 1B of COVID-19 vaccine distribution is slated to begin on Jan. 19, when vaccinations will be made available to those who are 80 years of age and older. Weeks following, the vaccine will be offered to other older Ohioans in staggered distributions.

In February, the state will be asking superintendents of schools to send along the number of staff they believe will choose to take the vaccine. Superintendents will also be asked to indicate if their districts are already working with partners for vaccinations.

K-12 adult school staff should coordinate with their district of employment to determine when vaccines will be offered at their school, the health department noted in its press release.

The health department noted that people interested in receiving the vaccine who are at least 65 years old or are a person with a congenital disability should call its office at 740-592-4431 to be added to a vaccination interest list. You can also submit a form online.

"When it is time for you to receive your vaccine, you will receive a phone call with a recorded message that will provide information about how to schedule an appointment," the press release stated.

"We have administered 409 vaccinations to Phase 1A recipients and anticipate exhausting remaining vaccine allocated to Athens County by the end of the week," Director of Community Health and Engagement Ruth Dudding said in an emailed statement. "We intend to move on to Phase 1B as the vaccine becomes more readily available."

The Moderna vaccine requires two doses for full protection offered by the vaccine; they occur no sooner than 28 days apart. The second dose is tentatively scheduled at a person's first vaccine appointment. Those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will be observed for 15 minutes before leaving the event site, the health department said.

"Even if you have been vaccinated, it is extremely important to continue safety measures such as wearing a facial covering, physical distancing, cleaning surfaces, and limiting the number of people who gather, until everyone receives a vaccine," the press release stated. "According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, getting a COVID-19 vaccination makes it substantially less likely you will get COVID-19 and may also help keep you from getting seriously ill even if you do get COVID-19. Getting vaccinated yourself may also protect people around you."

For information regarding COVID-19, contact the Athens City-County Health Department at 740-592-4431 or visit its website. Other information can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention webpage and the ODH Coronavirus dashboard.

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