Since late January, Primary Health Solutions has distributed COVID-19 vaccinations to members of the Oxford community who fit the Ohio Department of Health criteria. Two of the recent spaces the healthcare provider has used for distribution are the Talawanda Middle and High School buildings.
Primary Health Solutions is a healthcare provider that uses 10 free-standing and school-based health centers throughout Butler and Montgomery Counties to serve the community.
They are currently administering the vaccine in three locations: Oxford, Hamilton and Dayton.
They receive the vaccines from the Ohio Department of Health, according to Dr. Stephen Roller, chief operating officer and chief clinical officer at Primary Health Solutions.
Roller said Primary Health Solutions knew Talawanda would be a willing partner to administer the vaccine because of their prior connections.
“As the volume of vaccines given by the Ohio Department of Health increased,” Roller said, “we knew we couldn’t accommodate giving over 200 vaccines in our [Oxford] office.”
Primary Health Solutions receives a weekly email on Wednesdays detailing the type and number of vaccines for the following week. The majority of vaccines received by the Ohio Department of Health have been manufactured by Moderna.
Holli Morrish, director of communications and public relations for Talawanda School District, said all students are remote on Wednesdays for intervention days, leaving parking lots and school buildings mostly empty for the vaccination program.
As of March 12, Talawanda has held three vaccination clinics with Primary Health Solutions. Morrish said the partnership will continue in the future.
“We are really pleased about this,” Morrish said. “We know that vaccines are the most likely way we are going to reach herd immunity, and I hope we are able to get the pandemic under control.”
Members of Ohio's current vaccination phase are not the only ones being vaccinated through Primary Health Solutions.
Jerritt Collord, a 44-year-old Oxford resident, has no vaccine-qualifying health problems. Still, she received her first dose at Talawanda Middle School on March 10.
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The line to wait outside was a long one for Collord. Once she was inside the building, though, she said it was an efficient process.
Collord said the long wait gave her time to think about being in line for the vaccine when other people may need it more than her.
Collord said she would have liked to see older people be able to receive the vaccine before her.
“If these are actually surplus [doses], it is your duty to get vaccinated as soon as possible to help herd immunity,” Collord said. “At the end of the day, the only thing you can do is try to help fix the problem of why more vulnerable demographics aren’t getting these doses.”
Selection process for vaccine distribution
To receive the first dose of the vaccine, those interested can visit Primary Health Solutions’ website to register.
Primary Health Solutions then filters individuals by need into the current phases outlined by the Ohio Department of Health.
According to the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine’s website, in response to the significant increase in the number of vaccines given to Ohio, DeWine outlined individuals included in Phase 1D and Phase 2B of Ohio’s vaccination plan which went into effect on March 11.
Phase 1D includes individuals with certain medical conditions not addressed in previous phases, including type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease. Phase 2B will open vaccinations for Ohioans ages 50 and older.
“There has been some misinformation that you can just show up,” Morrish said. “They want you to register for the vaccine on their website to get selected. But older people are able to call.”
However, many people have shown up without an appointment to receive the first dose of the vaccine. They received the extra shots that were not administered to those with appointments.
The website asks for the individual’s preferences for date, time and place of their vaccination. They also ask for contact information of each individual to then text and email them to confirm the time and date of the appointment for vaccine administration.
“At the end of the day, the directive from the Ohio Department of Health is that we are trying to get the most at-risk populations vaccinated first, but what we don’t want to do is waste any doses,” Roller said. “So, if we have additional vaccine supply, and we do not have anyone that meets the certain criteria, then we would give those vaccines to anyone.”
Roller said those who are able to get the extra doses after waiting in line are then guaranteed an appointment to receive the second dose. The second dose for the Moderna vaccine should be administered 28 days after the first dose; for the Pfizer vaccine, it should be 21 days after the first dose.
Roller said anyone who wants to get vaccinated, should.
“We’ve been in a lot of communities, [and] the response in Oxford has been robust,” Roller said. “I don’t want people to get frustrated if people don’t get a call right away. We are trying to work through the phases [put out by the Ohio Department of Health]. Everyone is doing their best.”