First doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine arrive in Ohio

Ohio – The first shipments of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine are arriving in Ohio Monday.

Distribution is now underway for a 201,000 dose allocation of the company’s mRNA vaccine which will help Ohio immunize emergency medical personnel and health care workers. Some of the state’s 113 local health departments will receive their first Moderna shipments Monday and Tuesday.

Officials said 70% of the doses were headed for hospitals to continue vaccinating frontline staff, a process that began a week ago with the first doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, while the remaining 30% were for health departments to vaccinate paramedics. The other tier 1A priority group, long-term care facility residents and staff, will have access to the Pfizer doses allocated to Ohio in the coming 3-4 weeks.

A truck pulled in around 9:15 a.m. Monday with a Moderna delivery at OhioHealth Riverside. The location is OhioHealth’s “storage hub.” Doses will move from Riverside to most of OhioHealth’s 11 other hospitals this week.

Hamilton County Public Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said the department was receiving 1,800 Moderna doses this week for EMTs and paramedics.

“These folks are the frontline workers that show up when somebody is sick, and are putting themselves at risk and have been doing so since February,” Kesterman said.

Kesterman said the department was responsible for immunizing 36 fire departments.

“We’re really looking at the folks that are helping save lives on the ambulances,” he said.

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is receiving 2,700 doses this week, officials said.

The Upper Valley Medical Center in Miami County was scheduled to receive a shipment of 600 doses of the vaccine Monday, Premier Health announced. The Ohio Department of Health did not immediately respond to a request for the list of locations receiving the Moderna vaccine.

Dayton & Montgomery County Health Commissioner Jeff Cooper said the department expects about 3,000 doses of Moderna this week. He said the county believes there are about 50-60,000 people in tier 1A, or about 10% of residents. Cooper stressed it will take some time to move through that group of people.

Beyond the current tier of people eligible to be immunized the picture of vaccine priority groups looks less clear. An advisory committee to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reassessed the tiering of Americans Sunday, recommending that seniors over 75 move ahead of some categories of essential workers. Those recommendations are not yet finalized.

In addition to immunizing EMS, health departments will be responsible for covering a list of priority groups: home health workers, primary care practitioners, dental providers, and other non-hospital health care workers.

Gov. Mike DeWine praised local health departments for their preparedness in the vaccine effort.

“Covering EMS is very important. Our local health departments will be doing that, our local health department also will be covering some of the smaller congregate care settings, some of the group homes and things like that where we think that the risk is high,” he said last week.

Ohio released a vaccine dashboard this weekend which shows the state has a long way to go to administer the 500,000 doses it hoped to receive in December. As of Sunday, 5,930 shots of the Pfizer vaccine had been administered.​

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