(Dover, Ohio) – With over 5,000 people on their waitlist for Phase 1B and the very limited supply of COVID-19 vaccine available, the Tuscarawas County Health Department (TCHD) announced that it will no longer accept names for its waitlist for 65 and older as of 4 pm on Wednesday, February 17th.
The no waste waitlist will close at the same time. The decision was made in response to the Ohio Department of Health’s (ODH) plan to soon launch a central vaccine registration website for all eligible Ohioans, and TCHD will be transitioning to ODH’s online registration system during the next vaccine distribution phase. ODH has not yet announced when the next vaccine distribution phase will begin, or which priority groups will be included in the next phase.
TCHD will continue to offer appointments to those registered on their 1B waitlist until the list has been exhausted. At that time, TCHD will transition to the Statewide online registration system, where individuals can view and make an appointment for a vaccine at their convenience. Those 65 and older will also be able to utilize this system, once launched. More information regarding this process will be forthcoming.
“Due to the scarcity of the vaccine and out of fairness to those who have registered on our Phase 1B waitlist, we want to continue giving priority to those on our list and get them scheduled for vaccine appointments just as quickly as our vaccine shipments come in,” explained Katie Seward, Tuscarawas County Health Commissioner. “We have been receiving only 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine each week to provide vaccine for the 65 and older population, and we felt it was important to close our waitlist to allow time for us to work through the list of over 5,000 people. Of course, we continue to regularly request more vaccine to accommodate the needs of our residents as quickly as possible, and we are hopeful that larger vaccine shipments will soon be available to us.”
“We greatly appreciate everyone’s patience,” noted Seward. “We encourage eligible persons to continue to register on our website at www.tchdnow.org or by calling 330-343-5555, ext. 106 through February 17th. They can also contact all available vaccine providers in the area and take the first vaccine appointment they can get.”
TCHD’s no waste waitlist (which was created to collect contact information for individuals who are not part of Phase 1A or 1B and are available to travel to TCHD on very short notice to use any doses that might otherwise be wasted due to no-show appointments) will also close at 4 pm on February 17th. “With over 4,000 people, the no waste waitlist is already longer than we can reasonably accommodate, and we have enough names to ensure that not a drop of this life-saving vaccine is wasted,” shared Seward.
Even with the limited supply of the COVID-19 vaccine, TCHD’s staff has made a positive impact on the local vaccination efforts. As of 12 pm today, TCHD reported having administered 2,387 COVID-19 vaccines for adults who met the qualifications for being included in Phases 1A and 1B as determined by the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Additionally, TCHD vaccinated school district personnel at Garaway (62% opted in) on February 1st and Claymont School District personnel (57% opted in) on February 9th with Tusky Valley and Newcomerstown School Districts scheduled for vaccinations on February 16th and 17th respectively. Strasburg and Indian Valley Districts will follow.
Residents in search of more information about the COVID-19 vaccine are invited to participate in ODH’s virtual vaccine town hall livestreams to be held at the following times (ODH will release login details in the near future): Monday, February 22, 6:30 pm for African American Ohioans; Tuesday, February 23, 6:30 pm for Hispanic/Latino Ohioans; Monday, March 1, 6:30 pm for Asian American and Pacific Islander Ohioans; and Tuesday, March 2, 6:30 pm for rural Ohioans.