Ohio County’s Top Vaccination Rates in West Virginia | News, Sports, Jobs
WHEELING – One year away from the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine given, Ohio County sits near the top of West Virginia’s best-vaccinated counties.
According to the state Department of Health and Human Resources, the rate of people who are at least partially vaccinated in Ohio County is 69.7% among those 5 years and older, 75.6% for those aged 5 and over. 18 years and over and 97.2% for those 65 and over. Each measure is significantly ahead of the state average of 63.1, 69.9 and 86.4%, respectively.
Additionally, Ohio County ranks second behind Kanawha County on the DHHR dose per 1,000 population map – 662 versus Kanawha’s 694.
Wheeling-Ohio County Health Administrator Howard Gamble said he believed the county’s outstanding performance in administering the vaccine – compared to others in West Virginia – may be due to relatively high number of residents who interact with or live in long-term care facilities. .
“We have a population, in the county and in the region, who knew about the benefits of vaccines against vaccine-preventable diseases,” Gamble said. “A lot of them knew, ‘this is what you do to prevent disease.’ We also have a lot of people who are vaccinated in our long term care facilities, and we have an abundance in this area, the Good Shepherd (nursing home), the Peterson (Healthcare and Rehabilitation Hospital) and (Bishop Hodges) Continuous Care. Center.
“They deserve a lot of credit for having vaccinated their population very early, as well as their workforce,” he added. “The same can be said for Wheeling Hospital. Many people were vaccinated very quickly, and they did it themselves before we set up the vaccination center. “
Gamble had mixed feelings remembering the early days of the vaccine rollout, when thousands of people would come to receive their first doses as soon as possible, leading to some being turned down due to lack of supplies. Now, Gamble said, it has become common practice to get rid of unused vaccine doses that have expired.
“These were very difficult times during the pandemic, for someone who came to the vaccination center or to the event. These days we have too much of it, it expires and we get rid of it, and we don’t think about it, ”Gamble said.
Gamble said their expectation was that by then Ohio County would be even further ahead than it is. If the vaccines had been adopted more quickly, he thought, the variants might not have been so widespread and local communities might have returned to normal.
“Today is our first anniversary. We started when the vaccine arrived a year ago, ”Gamble said Thursday. “Come to think of it, we’re still vaccinating in the Highlands. … A year later, with a vaccine readily available, a walk-in clinic… we would have thought that we would be 80 percent of the population vaccinated, and therefore only controlling the small cases that arise.
“We would have liked to see a lot more people vaccinated at the start of the campaign, and I think that would have led to a better result when a variant arrived – if it did happen – for the population,” he continued. “With a vaccine-preventable disease, whether it’s measles, polio, rabies or that, if it’s available, especially during a pandemic, the general population should benefit. It will help reduce disease and disability and, yes, bring us back to a more normal level. “