HANCOCK COUNTY, Ohio — Phase 1B in Ohio's COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan kicks off next week, and health officials in Hancock County believe they are ready to move forward.
As of Tuesday, Jan. 12, more than 1,600 people in Hancock County have received either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Hancock Public Health Commissioner Karim Baroudi said the process, so far, has been a smooth one, with the only thing slowing down vaccine distribution being the current short supply.
By week's end, Hancock County will have all of its 1A recipients vaccinated. To prepare for Phase 1B, the health department has partnered with 50 North in Findlay to create a hotline where residents can call and register for their spot in line.
The number to call is 419-423-8496, and the line is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.
"Four thousand individuals have registered online, and now we've made a priority for those groups. We're picking the 80 and above, and they're going to be getting calls soon here to schedule their time next week," Baroudi said.
The health commissioner said it's exciting for him to see more and more people getting vaccinated. He expects vaccines to be even more readily available by late spring.
However, until 70%-80% of the community is vaccinated, Baroudi wants to make sure people stay the course and continue following health protocols.
"It's really important at this time to not let our guard down. The end is in sight. It's just a matter of just hanging in there just a little longer until we can move on," he said.
Baroudi said the county is ready to begin phase 1B of vaccine distribution, meaning those 80 and over will soon be getting their first dose.