Ohio Congressman Brad Wenstrup visited the Ross County Health District COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at the Ohio University Chillicothe Shoemaker Center on Tuesday, March 30.
Wenstrup, who has represented Ohio’s 2nd congressional district since 2013, is also a U.S. Army Reserve officer and Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. While visiting the clinic, Wenstrup talked with and thanked the many nurses and members of the Ross County Health District working to combat COVID through distributing vaccines.
“At a local level, we’re getting it done and should all be pleased with the results we’re seeing in the number of people coming out to get the vaccine and volunteers helping their community with it,” Wenstrup said. “We adapt and overcome, and it’s been great to see so many people in our district step up and get this done. I think it's good for every American to get vaccinated if they can, if they're medically able, it'll benefit the whole country and community as far as our health.”
While visiting the clinic, Wenstrup shared that he’s maintained his medical license and remains on the staff of the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. He talked about his experiences going out with the national guard to administer vaccinations to individuals.
“As I’ve visited vaccine clinics, what I’ve noticed is that every location has its own unique quality that fits its community,” Wenstrup added. “I’ve visited clinics like this located in partnering facilities, to vaccine clinics in fairgrounds, each of them representing their community in its own way.”
Michaela Weaver, Health Communication Specialist for the Ross County Health District, explained that the vaccination site at OHIO Chillicothe has helped better serve the community by allowing the Ross County Health District to provide vaccines in a bigger space to those who live in Ross County without them having to travel to a larger city, like Columbus.
“Ohio University Chillicothe entered into the partnership with Ross County Health Department to assist the community with the dissemination of the much-needed COVID vaccine,” Chillicothe campus Dean of Campus and Community Relations Roberta Milliken said. “This has proven to be a positive alliance and has allowed our nursing students to actively participate and gain first-hand experience at the Shoemaker Center Health Clinic and pop-up stations around Chillicothe and beyond. Approximately 6,000 people have been vaccinated at OHIO Chillicothe since February 1. We are thankful that the vaccine is now available to people 16 and older following Governor DeWine’s visit on March 17. Ohio University Chillicothe welcomes Congressman Westrup and any other officials who would like to witness firsthand the power of community partnerships and regional alliances.”
According to the COVID-19 vaccinations reported to Ohio Department of Health, Ross County has administered 19,182 total vaccines as of March 29, equating to 25% of the county receiving at least one dose of the vaccine. Of those vaccines, 11,377 have been completed, meaning both doses of the Pfizer and Moderna shot have been given and the one dose of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.
The clinic at the Shoemaker Center averages nearly 300 doses daily Monday through Wednesday and Friday when the clinic is open until 3:30 p.m., and around 400 doses on Thursdays when the clinic is open until 6:30 p.m.
“We’re ready to put this pandemic behind us and move on past COVID and the quickest way is through vaccination,” Garrett Guillozet, Health Commissioner for the Ross County Health District, said. “The Shoemaker Center has been outstanding for us, especially with Ohio University Chillicothe allowing us access to the facility when we need it. This partnership has been great and so helpful to our community, allowing us to move out of our tiny office space and giving us a place where we can accommodate up to 1,000 individuals a day if we need to.”
Weaver added that in the last week, she’s also noticed the clinic has seen an uptick in college-aged individuals coming through to receive the vaccine.
“I’m hopeful that with more vaccination clinics opening and a significant number of students receiving the vaccine, that colleges such as this, will be able to return to a more normal college experience come fall,” Weaver said.
Both Wenstrup and Guillozet encourage those hesitant to receive the vaccine to talk with their physician, reach out to their local health department and talk to those who have been vaccinated about how they feel and their experience.
Guillozet explained that for the vaccine clinic at the Shoemaker Center, most individuals get in and out with their shot within 20 minutes, including the 15-minute observation period after the shot.
The Shoemaker Center has served as a vaccine site since the beginning of February.
“Local public health professionals have been living and breathing this pandemic since the beginning of March of 2020,” Guillozet said. “So, to have elected officials and state leaders actually out here seeing what we’ve been doing, boots on the ground, is vital to our staff, vital to morale, and vital to the community to understand that its more than what they see or read.”