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'The best vaccine is the one that's available to you' | Toledo-Lucas County Health Department discusses Phase 1C vaccine distribution plans

Starting today, those 60 and older and those in certain occupations and with certain medical conditions can register for Phase 1C and Phase 2 vaccine appointments.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The pool of vaccine-eligible Ohioans has increased with today's rollout of Phase 1C and Phase 2, for people 60 and older and those in certain occupations and with specific medical conditions. 

The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department provided an update Thursday, and Health Commissioner Eric Zgodzinski said worrying about which vaccine to get is not as important as just getting it.

"The best vaccine is the one that's available to you," Zgodzinski said. "Any vaccine is better than no vaccine. All three vaccines are very good at combatting COVID-19."

Zgodzinski said Lucas County received 300 doses of the new single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine this week, and expects to receive about the same number for the next few weeks until production increases.

The county's first Johnson & Johnson clinic was set up for Friday, and all slots were filled within 25 minutes.

"We've heard the president say we're going to form a team and produce even more vaccines," Zgodzinski said. "I don't know how fast that will ramp up, but we'll see more Johnson & Johnson in the next 30 to 60 days."

The country will continue to set up designated clinics for each form of the vaccine depending on which one it has available. Due to supply, the county cannot stock a clinic with more than one version.

Zgodzinski stressed the importance of not waiting to get the vaccine if you're eligible.

He also discouraged people from camping out outside a vaccine clinic hoping to receive a leftover dose.

"We definitely don't want individuals mulling around, he said. "Are you exposing yourself potentially to COVID? This is something we don't want you to do. About an hour before we close a clinic, we start counting numbers. We get to the waitlist as soon as we can."

Zgodzinski also said people who sign up for two doses need to do everything possible to show up to receive the second. He said the county will work with people to the best of their ability if something arises, but if you miss your second dose, the health department cannot guarantee a second dose in a timely manner.

Zgodzinski said "almost zero" vaccine does have been wasted so far.

Appointment sign-ups for next week in the county open up at 6 p.m. on Thursday. 

As of Thursday, 70,279 people in Lucas County started their vaccine, or 16.1 percent of the population. There now are 36,666 fully vaccinated residents, or 8.5 percent of the population.

Here’s who is now eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio:

PHASE 1C

  • Pregnant women
  • Type 1 diabetics
  • ALS patients
  • Bone marrow transplant recipients
  • Law enforcement / corrections officers
  • Child care employees
  • Funeral service employees

DeWine's office says Phase 1C includes approximately 246,000 Ohioans.

PHASE 2

  • Ohioans who are ages 60 and older

Phase 2 includes approximately 695,000 people.

The health department has this link on its website where people in the appropriate age groups can click to begin the process to obtain a vaccination. 

CLICK TO SCHEDULE FOR LUCAS COUNTY COVID-19 VACCINATIONS

Even if it's not your age group's time, you can go on the health department website - https://lucascountyhealth.com/ - and fill out the initial "I'm interested" questionnaire. You will then be contacted when it comes time for them to sign up for an actual time. 

It is important to remember, that pre-registration does not guarantee you a spot. You will still need to register once you qualify.

Help with scheduling

"We're trying to make this as simple as possible for the community. ... We know the internet can be tricky for some people. We've partnered with United Way 211 and Area Office on Aging to help. This includes multilingual support, special assistance and for seniors," Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner Dr. Eric Zgodzinski said.

United Way 2-1-1 will assist individuals who have a disability, no access to technology or are experiencing technical issues in completing the health department's online “COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration” form, which notifies submitters of when they can receive a vaccination.

Someone who meets any qualifiers above can dial 2-1-1 to speak with a Community Resource Advisor. You must call during the following times and hours to pre-register: 

  • Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Saturday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The form itself can be found by visiting LCHD’s website at LucasCountyHealth.com.

The Area Office on Aging also plans to offer transportation to the vaccination sites. 

If you have any questions or need help, you can call the Area Office on Aging of Northwestern Ohio at 419-382-0624 or visit their website at areaofficeonaging.com.

Zgodzinski said starting next Tuesday, all Toledo Lucas County Public Library branches will have full in-person access available, providing opportunities for members of the community to use the internet for vaccine registration. To schedule an appointment, call 419-259-5200.