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Lucas County health leaders call 'Vax to School' campaign a success

The month-long effort at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department aims to get as many people 12 and older vaccinated against COVID-19.

TOLEDO, Ohio — COVID-19 cases continue to rise and Lucas county is considered "substantial" in the level of community spread.

"It feels like we win or we're starting to win and then we get punched in the stomach again with the delta variant, and now we're back to square one," Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said.

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Health leaders are now doing what they can to get more vaccines in arms with a new push in the hopes of protecting more people.

"I thought about it all night and I got up this morning like 'OK God, I'm going to do this. I'm going to do this,'" said Rochelle Jackson, who got vaccinated Saturday.

Jackson is one of more than 75 people with a hundred dollars in their pocket and some school supplies. 

It's all for getting the first dose of the COVID vaccine, something she says she wouldn't have done if it wasn't for the help of her church.

"I got talked out of this vaccine several times," Jackson said. "African Americans, they said it's not for us and it's not for the Black people, but the Black people dying too. This virus does not discriminate; it's for everybody."

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It's part of a new push from the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department called 'Vax to School' in an effort to get anyone 12 and older vaccinated as the delta variant continues to spread.

"It's critical that everyone tries to get vaccinated that has not been vaccinated," Health Department Director of Nursing Gwendolynn Gregory said. "Because if you are exposed, your case is not as severe and your symptoms are not as severe as if you weren't vaccinated." 

Lucas County's Health Commissioner and other health leaders continue to say the more people who get vaccinated, the better protected our community. But until that happens, concern remains.

"Until we can knock down the amount of infections inside of our communities - that's not just Lucas County, that's in the United States - COVID is going to have the ability to mutate and become a variant," Zgodzinski said.

'Vax to School' is being held at the health department in downtown Toledo every Saturday in August from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

Anyone who gets their first dose of the vaccine will get gift cards and school supplies.