DeWine praises Dayton region for working together to distribute COVID vaccine

Gov. Mike DeWine visited a coronavirus vaccination site Monday morning in Dayton, saying the city and county are doing a great job of bringing vaccines to people.

The vaccination site was at Bethesda Temple on Salem Avenue. According to Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County, 650 people were registered to get a vaccine today.

“What I see in Montgomery County, is the county itself, the city itself and the health department are all very much working together and that’s a great thing,” the governor said. “But they’re not just working together as government entities, they’re reaching out to the community.”

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Haskle Buford, a 61-year-old who lives in Dayton, got his first coronavirus vaccine this morning. Buford said it is better to be safe than sorry.

“I’ve got 18 grandkids and six great-grandkids. I can’t wait to get them all in a big hug,” Buford said. “I have only been able to see them at a distance for a year now.”

Buford said he would encourage anyone to “just take the vaccine.”

Montgomery County has one of the highest vaccination rates for African Americans in the state, according to Ohio Department of Health data. Abut 9% of the African American population in Montgomery County is vaccinated.

“This past week we got about 450,000 doses. I checked with the number of the health departments this morning and most of those already with people’s arms. So it’s going well,” DeWine said this morning. “The Public Health Department Dayton-Montgomery County I think is doing a really, really, really good job. They are really focused on trying to make sure that everybody in the community who wanted the shot has the opportunity to get a shot.”

On Friday, the governor announced more than a dozen regional mass vaccination sites, including one at the Dayton Convention Center. It is not clear when the regional sites will open, but they will be able to administer between 300 to 3,000 vaccines day based off location, supply and demand.

Other regional sites include Cincinnati, Lima, Maumee, Columbus, Akron, Youngstown, Chillicothe, Marietta, Wilmington and Zanesville, as well as four mobile vaccine clinics that will travel throughout northwestern and west-central, southeastern, north-central and east-central Ohio.

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The governor also announced a FEMA mass vaccination sites opening at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center on March 17. The FEMA site will be able to administer as many as 6,000 vaccinations a day and will operate seven days a week.

As of Sunday, 1,970,238 people in Ohio have started the vaccine and 1,109,674 are finished with the vaccine, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

“It is pretty universal that the people who are getting the shots are very happy,” DeWine said in Harrison Twp. “They really look at this as an opportunity to expand their freedom. Some of them talked about spending more time with family members, a mother, father, grandchildren.”