TOLEDO, Ohio — The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is offering walk-in COVID vaccine clinics as case numbers continue to rise.
On Friday, the Pfizer vaccine will be available to anyone 16 and older without an appointment at the Lucas County Recreation Center in Maumee. Those 16 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
On Saturday, the Moderna vaccine will be administered to anyone 18 and older. Each clinic will run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Additionally, the health department will offer walk-ins starting Monday downtown. Vaccines will be administered on a walk-in basis Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski hopes the walk-in option leads to more people getting vaccinated.
"That hesitancy we know is going to be there," he said. "Those individuals already vaccinated are the ones we knew we were going to get and they were energized. We know there are also people who want to get vaccinated but there are barriers. That's why we're offering walk-ins. I hope to capture another 10 or 15 percent that way."
About 35 percent of the Lucas County population has received at least one done of a vaccine.
New cases per day dropped to about 50 in Lucas County in early March. That figure has increased to over 100 a day the last two weeks.
Zgodzinski attributes the increase to St. Patrick's Day and Easter, increased cases in Michigan and variants.
He said Lucas County has confirmed 11 cases of the variant first found in the United Kingdom and two of the variant first discovered in California.
"These numbers are higher than I wanted at this point in time," Zgodzinski said. "I expected us to have 40 or 50 a day. We really need to make sure the community understands we're not out of this yet. We're still seeing over 100 cases a day. That should give everybody pause."
Zgodzinski said the average age of those hospitalized is down to 35 or 36 years old. He said the variants are more infectious and are affecting younger people.
There is still plenty of vaccine available. Zgodzinski said he expects upwards of 15,000 doses available next week, despite the Johnson & Johnson vaccine being paused.
The health department is encouraging businesses, no matter the size, to set up closed vaccine pods to vaccinate workers and their families. A request form is available at lucascountyhealth.com/covidvaccine.
"No matter if it's 2 or 2,002 individuals, please let us know and let's figure out how to get the vaccine to you," Zogdzinski said.
If you or a loved one is homebound, a phone number has been established to make arrangements. Call 419-213-4100, Option 1, for more information.