Health Commissioner, EMA Director provide update on COVID-19 vaccination process

[Tiffin, OH – March 4, 2021] –– Seneca County Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer and Emergency Management Agency Director John Spahr updated the public Thursday afternoon during a press conference about COVID-19 and vaccination efforts.
Schweitzer said as of 6 p.m. Wednesday, the county has had 4827 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 55 of them being active. She said only three people are currently hospitalized and there have been a total of 128 deaths.
Schweitzer said that vaccination efforts continue, not only by the Seneca County General Health District, but by several other entities including Tiffin and Fostoria Kroger, Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital and Community Health Services Tiffin and Fostoria.
As of Thursday, the health department had administered the vaccine to more than 3,600 people, with about 2,000 who received both shots and are fully vaccinated.
According to data from the Ohio Department of Health, as of Thursday, about 7,781 (14.1% of the population) had been vaccinated in Seneca County. According to the same source, about 4,185 (7.6%) had received both doses and are fully vaccinated.
Schweitzer said several community partners are working to contact people via text message to remind them that they are on the waiting list for the vaccine, and to ask them to respond if they have already received it from another source.
If you are not sure if you signed up yet or wish to join the waiting list, please use this link to register:
Once on the website, you can select the eligible group you are in, and register again.
Schweitzer said the biggest news of the week is the arrival of a third approved vaccine, which is being produced by Johnson and Johnson.
“All providers now may be receiving any one of the three different vaccines and perhaps several of them at a time,” she said. “As production of all three of these increases, it means we will be able to get more vaccine doses out to a larger pool of people and that, of course, is our goal.”
Schweitzer stressed the effectiveness of all three vaccines and urged people to sign up to receive the vaccine if they are in an eligible group.
Schweitzer said the J&J vaccine requires just one shot, instead of two and it includes an 86% effectiveness rate in preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19.
Spahr reminded viewers that Thursday marked the opening of registration for those in Phase 1C and Phase 2 of the state’s plan. This includes those who are 60+, and those who work in law enforcement, funeral services, childcare services and individuals who are living with Type 1 Diabetes, are pregnant or are living with ALS.
Spahr said that just because registration was open, doesn’t mean that people will receive their vaccine this week, but it does ensure their place in line.
Schweitzer encouraged those who want to receive the vaccine to sign up in as many places as possible, and to get the vaccine as soon as they can.
“The most important message I can convey is that you simply get vaccinated at the first possible opportunity,” she said. “That is what is going to help us achieve the herd immunity that needs to happen for us to get back to a state of normalcy.”
Spahr said Walmart in Tiffin had just announced that it would soon offer vaccination appointments, joining the health department, Tiffin and Fostoria Kroger, Tiffin and Fostoria Community Health Services and Mercy Health – Tiffin Hospital in providing the vaccine.
Schweitzer said because of a lack of vaccine supply in the past couple of months, the county is still working through the previous phases, vaccinating those who are in the 75+ and 65+ list.
County officials are still preaching patience to those who are on the waiting list.
“There are many different entities in our community working together to get more vaccine to our community in a timely manner,” Schweitzer said. “You must remember that this pandemic is new for almost everyone and although plans for mass vaccination have been in place, you can’t know all the different unexpected situations that arise that create the need to be flexible or to change plans to react in a more effective and efficient way. What I do know, is that it takes a community to make these vaccination processes occur and we can’t thank our partners and volunteers for all they are doing for us and for the community.”

You can view the press conference video here: