(WKBN) – As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes available to more people in the state this week, local health departments are working to provide information about the vaccines they have and who is eligible for the different formulations.
While Monday is the beginning of new eligibility in the state for those 16 years old and older, only the Pfizer vaccine is approved for that age group.
“We do have a process in place for assurance that the 16 and 17 year olds will receive Pfizer,” said Dr. James Krave, chief medical officer for Mercy Health Youngstown.
But not all providers have the Pfizer vaccine. Columbiana County Health District hasn’t had doses of it since December. Mahoning and Trumbull county health departments also don’t have any doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.
“Pfizer is being distributed throughout the state, so if there’s somebody that is interested that’s under 18, we just recommend that they contact some of the other providers,” said Laura Fauss, spokesperson for the Columbiana County Health District.
A list of vaccine providers can be found on the Ohio Department of Health’s website.
Mercy Health is currently giving around 10,000 shots a week. Each of its sites only gives one vaccine type, which Dr. Kravec says will make it easier to serve teenage patients.
“We have received Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson and Johnson throughout the process. We currently have new shipments every week of Moderna and Pfizer,” Kravec said.
Provider hotlines and digital systems are set up to make sure 16 to 18 year olds only go to sites with Pfizer vaccines available. Parents or legal guardians make the vaccine decision for teenage patients and must give consent to the providers.
“We haven’t been given any guidance from the state if the child doesn’t want to get it, but the parent wants to give it,” Fauss said.
Right now, the Trumbull County Combined Health District only has access to the Moderna vaccine, which is only eligible for residents 18 years old and older.
Anyone who registered as a 16 or 17-year-old for the Trumbull County Fairgrounds Clinic on April 1 will need to cancel their appointment. That can be done by calling the health district’s office at 330-675-2489.
You need to have an appointment to attend the Trumbull County Fairgrounds Clinic. To register, click here.
To speed up the check-in process in Trumbull County, health officials are strongly encouraging everyone scheduled to visit their website to download, print and complete the COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Record form and bring the completed form along with their confirmation code to the appointment.