WHEELING – Wheeling and Ohio County officials urge citizens to resist “Hesitation” and get a COVID-19 vaccination as soon as possible so the community can safely return to normal.
Officials said reluctance to get vaccinated would only ensure that the pandemic – and related health and safety restrictions – continue to be a part of our lives. In the meantime, health officials say they will have to get rid of expired vaccine doses and business leaders say local stores continue to bear the brunt.
Wheeling City Council members on Tuesday passed a resolution supporting the efforts of the Wheeling-Ohio County Department of Health and encouraging citizens to receive the vaccine. The Board also welcomed Department of Health Administrator Howard Gamble and Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce President Erikka Storch to speak in support of this issue.
“Here, in this county and in this state, the reluctance to vaccinate is becoming a big problem”, This Gamble. “By the end of the week, we’ll throw out the vaccine because we can’t use it. There is no one to take it. I have a vaccine that will expire. It’s going – you can’t do nothing about it. But the number of people who register and attend our vaccination clinics is decreasing. “
Gamble said locally around 70% of the local population aged 65 and over have been vaccinated, which is a good thing. He said some of those people in high-risk categories had been vaccinated because they were “Audience captured” in a nursing home or assisted living facility, while others in this age group know the benefits of vaccines because they already have polio.
“They stood in line in the 50s until they got it”, Gamble said of those who received the polio vaccine. “Today we are taking a risk because we have become medical experts because we have attended Facebook University. You shouldn’t hesitate. If you have any questions about vaccines, call your doctor, ask a healthcare professional, or ask one of us in the healthcare department. “
There are regions around the world, like India, where the coronavirus is still taking its toll, Gamble said. The last thing he wants to see is the same thing happening locally due to the reluctance to get vaccinated.
Storch stressed the importance of getting back to normal for the good of local businesses and that vaccinations are key to making this happen.
“Last week at the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors meeting, we approved a letter to be released to show our support for the City of Wheeling initiative to encourage people to get vaccinated as a method of reopening our community, ” This Storch. “Many of our member companies have suffered from the closures and restrictions imposed on their businesses. We just think that if we can get them vaccinated, get as many people vaccinated as possible, we can get back to normal as soon as possible.
The Wheeling Hospital website makes it easy for visitors to book an appointment to get vaccinated at The Highlands. For those who don’t use a computer, Gamble said walk-in visits are welcome at the clinics, which are open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
“In a while, we believe Pfizer will reduce the age of use from 16 to 12”, This Gamble. “If that happens, we have to mobilize very quickly to capture this group – the 12 to 15 year olds.”
All three forms of the vaccine – Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson – are available at The Highlands County Vaccination Clinic. Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott said that for the most part the community has been successful in getting the vaccine, but it can do better.
“We really want to emphasize the importance of vaccines and the importance of reopening our community”, That Elliott. “It only really works if there are enough of us getting vaccinated and achieving collective immunity.”
“While no one is required to receive the vaccine, we strongly encourage our residents to trust the science and the medical community and get vaccinated.” Deputy Mayor Chad Thalman said. “The increase in the number of people receiving the vaccine will bring us closer to eradicating the virus.”