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October 27, 2021

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Covid 19: Are we winning?

Yes, and no! Here's the details

By Karen L. Kier,
Pharmacist on behalf of the ONU HealthWise team


The nation is seeing a decrease in overall cases and Ohio’s curve is declining. So does this mean we are winning against COVID-19?

Yes, and no!

Yes, the vaccines are helping to improve control. However, public health officials and infectious disease specialists fear that this win may not last long.

As states are lifting restrictions, the number of variant or mutated strains of SARS-CoV-2 in the United States is increasing. The mutated strains from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa have made it to the United States.\

Three vaccines available
As reported this week, the three vaccines available in the USA have some activity against the United Kingdom mutation. The concern is the potential lack of effect of the USA vaccines against the Brazilian and South African strains. Little is known about the activity of the vaccines against the USA mutated strain of the virus known as CAL.20C.

Scientists have raised concerns about the potential for a surge or spike in cases as restrictions are lifted and the mutated strains continue to spread. The New York Times has a website that is tracking reported cases of the mutations, as well as any new variants that are appearing in the United States.

The control of these mutated strains is important to achieve the win! Even if restrictions are lifted, the number of cases decline, and vaccines are being given, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Dr. Fauci are still recommending face masks and social distancing. 

Governor DeWine had several major announcements this week in the fight against COVID-19 and lifting restrictions in Ohio. He announced that the state could lift restrictions when we reach 50 cases per every 100,000 people in the state for two weeks in a row.

This could be a great advantage for the Ohio economy and businesses. The Governor announced a plan for mass immunization clinics around the state that will begin at the end of March and last for 60 days.  

15 sites for vaccines
The 15 sites are a combination of fixed sites and mobile clinics. Our area will have two sites including Lima and the ONU HealthWise mobile clinic. The intent of these sites is to get more vaccine out to the public including those areas that may not have access to current vaccination programs. 

The CDC has indicated that 17.3% of the population has started a vaccination series with 9% completing a series. This number is reflective of the entire population even though children under the age of 16 are currently not eligible for the vaccine.

If you take this fact into consideration, then 22.5% of the population over 18 years of age have had at least one dose and 11.7% have completed the series. As of March 4, 2021, Becker’s Hospital Review reported that 109,905,530 vaccine doses have been distributed in the United States with 75.1% of these being administered.  This information can be found on the CDC website that provides vaccine tracking information for both doses distributed and doses given (https://covid.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/#vaccinations).  

New Mexico has the highest percentage of doses distributed and administered at 86.75%, which represents 31.9% of their population over the age of 18 receiving at least one dose.

The other states in the top five include North Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia, and New Jersey. The bottom five are Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Alaska, and Mississippi.   

Ohio ranks 31st
Ohio ranks 31st among the states with 4,057,505 doses delivered and 3,027,215 doses given (74.6%) with 21.3% over the age of 18 starting the vaccine series and 11.6% completing the series. 

The Ohio Department of Health Coronavirus Dashboard has a new tab on the website that is providing information on the number of a vaccines provided in Ohio (https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/dashboards/covid-19...). The website shows that about 1.9 million Ohioans have started a vaccine series, which represents 16.51% of the state. Within our geographic region, most of our counties have similar rates.

In our area, the Ohio dashboard shows Hardin county having the lowest coverage of vaccinations at 13.77% and Hancock having the most at 16.56%. The other local counties include Allen at 15.91%, Marion at 15.18%, and Wyandot at 16.15%. These percentages show us how important it is to get these clinics up and running when more vaccine is available. 

These percentages are too low for the win.

In order to provide protection through herd immunity (protection of those not vaccinated from getting the disease by those who have been vaccinated), experts have stated that the USA would need to have 70-90 percent of our country vaccinated to achieve herd immunity.

We have a long way to go
We have a long way to go and we need to achieve better numbers for the win! So far we are running a good race but the finish line is not insight.  We need to keep our energy up for the race by following CDC guidelines for a sprint to the end. 

ONU HealthWise is proud to be named by Governor DeWine as one of the mobile clinic sites for the COVID-19 vaccines.

Right now, the details are still being worked out before we understand all of the logistics for distribution and administration from the state.

Please feel free to go to our website for updates as they are provided to us. If you are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, please register on our website at www.onuhealthwisepharmacy.com.  Help us achieve the win!