The promise of moving beyond the pandemic lies with the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, but Ohio’s rollout is falling short on a national and state level, experts said.
Medical professionals believe it’s both a matter of public trust and a logistical challenge.
“I think there’s the perception and the reality,” Hamilton County Public Health medical director Dr. Steve Feagins said.
The vaccination process is off to a slow start on a national level, but Feagins said locally it’s happening as quickly as can be expected.
“We’re using the same resources that have been taking care of patients all year long,” he said. “There’s not extra resources to do this.”
Feagins said part of the problem is the timing with the vaccines arriving during the holidays – then there’s determining eligibility, the actual vaccination process, and data entry. This whole process is particularly challenging because much of the infrastructure didn’t exist until now.
The early phases of the vaccination process will look and feel a lot like testing – slow and clunky at first before becoming more organized and efficient. Some in the initial phases may change their mind about getting the shot.
“As we open up, if we have a big group all of a sudden that didn’t want to in the first and now do, does that push in front of the other groups? It’s not as simple as it may sound,” Feagins said.
Exactly where those late adopters or those who might hesitate at being among the first group vaccinated will fall in line remains to be seen.
“A number of my patients have spoken about their anxiety about getting this injection, about getting this shot,” psychologist Dr. Stuart Bassman said.
He said while those feelings are understandable, he believes those who choose to get the vaccine may be able to reclaim some sense of control.
“The vaccine is a lighthouse – a lighthouse that beckons us to, in a sense, weather the storm but move around the storm and come out on the other side,” Bassman said.
Feagins said with the holidays behind us, we can expect to see those vaccination numbers start growing soon.