Just under one third of Ashtabula County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but the county continues to lag behind state and national averages.

On Monday, the Ohio Department of Health reported 31.3 percent of Ashtabula County residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and 36.6 percent  have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In Ohio, 35.8 percent of residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 41.6 percent of residents are fully vaccinated, according to ODH.

As of Monday, 46 percent of people nationwide have received at least one dose of  a vaccine, and just under 35 percent of people are fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Ashtabula County Health Department Director of Public Health Nursing Christine Kettunen said it is great that the county has passed 31 percent of the population fully vaccinated.

The county health department has seen a slow-down in people seeking the vaccine, Kettunen said.

The Ashtabula County Health Department is working to reach populations that are hesitant about receiving the vaccine, Kettunen said. The health department is holding a vaccine clinic in Windsor Township on Wednesday to reach out to populations that may be hesitant about the vaccine, she said.

“We’re still going to try to, you know, work with some groups and get the rates up, but right now, the numbers are a little down at the clinics,” Kettunen said.

Kettunen said she is sympathetic to people who had a severe reaction to the vaccine, and suggested that people have a conversation with their doctor if they are concerned.

“The vaccine is, overall, safe,” Kettunen said. 

Conneaut Health Commissioner Nichele Blood said the Conneaut Health Department has administered more than 5,300 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. A number of locations in the county are providing vaccinations, she said.

“It’s just nice to know that our community is being vaccinated,” Blood said.

The Conneaut Health Department has recently had to wait for enough people to call and register before scheduling a clinic, Blood said.

Ashtabula city Health Commissioner Christine Hill said the Ashtabula City Health Department working to determine what issues are keeping people from getting vaccinated.

“We did have a very successful drive-through clinic ... last Thursday,” Hill said. “We were just tickled, we did 70 first dose vaccines, so that’s one of the larger clinics we’ve had in a while. ... I think we’re down to folks, now, that might want it, but it’s just got to be absolutely on their terms and completely convenient, at the right day at the right time.”

The city health department has another drive-through clinic scheduled for this Thursday, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building parking lot.

“That seems to work out well,” Hill said. “People come, they just stay in their car. We have them fill out their paperwork in their car, and we vaccinate them right there and have them sit for their 15 minute observation.” The clinics work well for people with mobility issues, Hill said.

The Ashtabula City Health Department has administered more than 5,700 doses of the vaccine, said Peggy Ducro, co-director of nursing with the Ashtabula Health Department.

Ashtabula County was in the top 10 counties in the state for COVID-19 cases when ODH released the new Public Health Advisory map on Thursday, Ashtabula County was had the eighth highest number of COVID-19 cases per capita in the state, with 185.1 cases per 100,000 residents over the past two weeks.

That is a decrease from the per capita case numbers the week before, when the county reported 209 cases per 100,000 residents.

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