CLEVELAND (WJW) – Have the amount of people receiving COVID-19 vaccinations already peaked in Ohio? It’s a question on the minds of some of the area’s largest health care providers who report a drop in demand for the vaccine.
“I don’t think of it that way, yes it’s concerning, but no, it’s not unexpected,” said Dr. Michelle Medina, Associate Chief of Clinical Operations at the Cleveland Clinic. “The only thing that’s startling about this that you saw that nice rise a nice peak and all of a sudden it felt like the bottom dropped out.”
More than 4 million people in Ohio have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, but there is growing concern about the declining demand to get a shot.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine addressed the issue early Thursday morning in Youngstown.
“Yes, I’m concerned,” DeWine said. “The numbers have gone down and you know, did they go down because of the Johnson and Johnson? I think partly they did, the uncertainty there has spread over into the other vaccines.”
Medina said the Cleveland Clinic distributed about 4 percent of all the vaccines given in the state and is seeing a substantial drop in people requesting shot. A University Hospitals spokesperson said they are also noticing a decline in demand.
“We actually have vaccine available for people more than we actually think they’re coming in,” she said.
“We’ve seen that dwindle since the end of March and at the moment it’s probably only about a half to a quarter per day of appointments that we used to see,” said Dr. Medina.
Summit County Public Health canceled a vaccine clinic originally scheduled for next week because of expected low turnout.
A Cuyahoga County Board of Health spokesperson said they’re not having that issue and provided vaccinations for 3,800 people this week.
“Based on the numbers that we saw there we are at about 95 percent capacity,” said Kevin Brennan, the communications officer for the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
The Cleveland Clinic is looking at ways to increase distribution of the vaccine in different venues to make sure access to the shot is not an issue.
Health care workers were among the first to be eligible for vaccinations in Ohio and several hospitals report more than half of its staff is inoculated.
MetroHealth reports 70 percent of its staff is vaccinated. The Cleveland Clinic reports 60 percent of its staff received the vaccine. A spokesperson said the percentage is expected to grow. University Hospitals reports its given more than 100,000 doses to employees and the public.
A spokesperson for the mass vaccination clinic at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University said they have not seen a recent drop in demand and are meeting the goal of 6,000 shots per day. However, appointments for next week just became available yesterday so it could be too early to tell.
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