By: Leah Alsept
UF is ready to give vaccines to Oilers once dosages come in
Ohioans 16 and older can now get the coronavirus vaccine, according to DeWine’s updated vaccine eligibility plan. “Phase 2D” states that older teens and young adults are able to be vaccinated beginning March 29. A full list of vaccine providers is available on the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 Dashboard. Hancock County has nine vaccine administration locations, with most of them being located in and around the Findlay area.
The Hancock County Public Health Department can also set up locations for vaccinations to be administered. The Koehler Fitness and Recreation Center (FRC) on the University of Findlay’s campus was a location where eligible Ohioans were able to get their vaccines on Saturday, March 13.
“They [Hancock County Public Health] contacted us regarding that they were going to do a mass vaccination clinic for the state and asked if they could possibly use our facility,” said Dave Emsweller, Vice President of Student Affairs about the vaccine clinic held on campus. “We had them come over and we did a quick tour of Koehler and then we got it all set up in terms of how they needed it to flow. They in essence ran it.”
Governor Mike DeWine also stopped by three other vaccine clinics in Ohio that day, including the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee, Ohio. DeWine continues to travel the Buckeye state with stops in Canton and Akron on March 26 and in Piqua on March 27.
Ohioans 50 years and older were able to get their vaccines during the day the temporary vaccine clinic was held at the FRC in Phase 2B, but Emsweller says he saw people of multiple age groups getting vaccinated. He was also vaccinated during the event.
“Mine was a later appointment. By the time I got there, they were using the Johnson & Johnson. So I had the Johnson vaccine,” he said. “I had a pharmacy student that gave me this shot and everything, and it was fine… The next day I didn’t feel the greatest, but no big deal. I’m just very glad that I have it now that I got the vaccination.”
UF Pharmacy students have been administering coronavirus vaccines for several months, and Debra Parker, Dean of the College of Pharmacy at UF, said via email that over 40 students have volunteered to give vaccines with more getting ready to administer shots in April.
“Our students are already trained in the administration of vaccines in their first professional year so they, as well as our P4 and P5 students (and well as those out on rotations in their P6 year) were ready to jump in when the vaccine became available,” Parker said.
Emsweller says UF has been approved to administer vaccines. Now, the school is just waiting to receive dosages but doesn’t have a confirmed date on when that will happen.
“The State [of Ohio] has been in communication with us and there is a chance that immediately following Easter that we will actually have vaccine and we’ll be able to offer it to students, faculty, and staff,” he said. “Once we get vaccine we will conduct clinics so that people can get immunized.”
There are 1,520,799 Ohioans aged 15-24 according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. Students commonly go to college right after graduating high school, and according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, most adult Americans in March of this year have been vaccinated for the coronavirus or are waiting to get their vaccinations.
Despite almost one-third of Americans receiving at least one vaccine dose, there still lies some skepticism about the newly released vaccines.
“Vaccine hesitancy and the skepticism about the vaccine as well as its rapid deployment have definitely impacted the vaccination rate. It’s important to note, though, that the science behind how the vaccine was been developed has actually been studied for years,” Parker said. “The science community was ‘ready’ for use of this technology which helped speed along its launch.”
Parker has seen several pandemics since joining the University of Findlay in 2006. The 2009 H1N1 pandemic was treated completely differently than how the coronavirus is seen today.
“I am struck by how much more receptive the public was to the H1N1 vaccine – likely because they were used to a ‘flu shot,’” Parker said. “The transmissibility of the H1N1 and the mortality was nothing like what we’ve seen with this virus; the impact on our lives in every possible facet has been tremendous.”
Emsweller knows students are getting tired of following the COVID-19 protocols that UF has had set in place for over a year, but he’s still positive about the way UF has handled things.
“I think we’re consistent. The face coverings are just the biggest challenge. It’s gone on for so long that people are just worn out,” said Emsweller. “You see now with people getting vaccinated, they’re very quickly not wanting to wear a face covering. But until we know that the State of Ohio says it’s okay, we still have to do it.”
Parker urges anyone with hesitancy of getting a vaccine to ask their healthcare providers or pharmacists about any concerns they have. She and her family have also been vaccinated.
“It’s important to weigh the impact of the virus vs the vaccine on ourselves, our loved ones, and society,” she said.
Featured photo credit: University of Findlay Newsroom (2016).