The Athens City-County Health Department, in collaboration with Ohio University, will use the newly opened headquarters of the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine as its primary site for administering COVID-19 vaccinations, Health Department Administrator Jack Pepper said.
Beginning on Friday, the first of the new year, the department began immunizations at Heritage Hall, a medical education facility located on West Union Street near the Shafer Street intersection.
“We are grateful to Ohio University for the quick planning that will allow us to offer vaccines to Phase 1a recipients in Athens County,” Pepper said in a university press release. “We value the continued collaboration, which will provide a facility to help our department administer the vaccine as quickly as possible.”
Local health departments are primarily tasked by the state with vaccinating EMS responders and health care workers who aren’t necessarily on the frontline, including dentists and hospice workers.
They’re also responsible for inoculating residents and staff of long-term care facilities that aren’t enrolled in the federal government’s plan to vaccinate them though a number of private pharmacies.
The health department last week received 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine, 190 of which were immediately given to Appalachian Behavioral Healthcare, a psychiatric hospital for mentally ill adults in southeast Ohio. It received an additional 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine Monday, but doesn’t expect more shipments until Jan 11, Pepper said.
The department also began immunizing EMS workers and select congregate care facilities last week at the Athens Community Center. Athens County EMS employs 66 people who are all eligible to receive the vaccine.
To date 754 Athens County residents, roughly 1 percent of the population, have received their first of two doses of a vaccine, according to The Ohio Department of Health. Currently, 460 known cases of the virus are active in the county.