With concerns rising over the delta variant, local health commissioners are working to get more residents vaccinated.
The Ohio Department of Health is expected to hold a news conference on Wednesday to discuss the variant and answer questions for journalists. Ohio will also announce a second coronavirus vaccine incentive program within the next few days in a new attempt to boost the state's vaccination rate.
10TV interviewed health commissioners at three local health departments in Licking County, Ross County, and Union County.
In Licking County, about 42% of residents are fully vaccinated. Leaders hope new data from the state will help them look at vaccination rates by zip code and target areas where not as many people are getting their shot. Their goal is to see vaccination rates at 60% in every zip code.
"Now, we're scheduling clinics in those areas where we are seeing those vaccination rates are the lowest to try to get to those folks - eliminating barriers - so we can get them vaccinated and get them protected," said Chad Brown, Licking Co. Health Commissioner. "Our office isn't centrally located, so we want to make sure we get out there in that neighborhood - folks can walk to the clinic and we can get them taken care of."
Meanwhile, in Ross County, about 37% of the population has completed the vaccination process. Health workers are trying to reach people experiencing homelessness and families visiting the pediatrician by bringing vaccines to them.
"Truly wherever we are able to go and willing to be hosted there, we are providing vaccines," said Garrett Guillozet, Ross Co. Health Commissioner. "Right now, 7.19% of our children between of the ages 0-19 have been vaccinated. So, that is a huge concern for us. We are working as hard as we can to increase that vaccination rate before school starts really to alleviate that risk of the delta variant transmission within schools."
In Union County, about 48% of people are fully vaccinated. However, certain vulnerable populations like those ages 70-74 are seeing vaccination rates at 91%. It's those numbers leaders are focusing on in the county.
"Any time there is a new variant, there is always some concern as we monitor and find out more information about what the variant does and does not do," said Jason Orcena, Union Co. Health Commissioner. "What we are very hopeful for is that the vaccination rate, particularly in those vulnerable populations, will act as a fairly strong bulwark against more cases arising in the fall as we move back indoors."
Ross County is offering clinics where residents can get their COVID-19 vaccine, along with Licking County and Union County. To check COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates in your area, click here.