No cost COVID-19 vaccines will be available in Zaleski beginning on April 14 at the Forget Me Knot wedding venue at 64 West Chestnut Street.  Vaccines are being offered by The Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University through their Community Health Programs.

The full clinic schedule includes appointments every other Wednesday on April 14, April 28, and May 12 from noon until 6 p.m. Appointments can be made at www.ohio.edu/medicine/covidclinic or by calling (740) 593-0175 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Single doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be administered to residents 18 years and older. Clinical trials have shown this specific vaccine has been 66.3 percent effective at preventing the patient from contracting the virus.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, no patients who received the Johnson and Johnson shot that ended up contracting the virus at least four weeks post inoculation had to be hospitalized. This means that while the vaccine isn't as effective as others at keeping you from getting the virus, it is very effective at keeping you out of the hospital or dying due to COVID.

One benefit of getting the Johnson and Johnson vaccine is the one dose method as opposed to the two doses needed for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The Johnson and Johnson doses are also much easier to transport as they don't need to be kept frozen.

Patients receiving vaccines must keep in mind that the vaccine won't be fully effecive until 28 days following vaccination with Johnson and Johnson doses. For both Pfizer and Moderna, partial immunity occurs two weeks after the first dose with further immunity two weeks after the second. 

Other vaccine clinics are being held in Washington, Meigs, Morgan, Lawrence, and Perry counties with the full schedule available online at the same website listed above.

Even after getting vaccinated, there is still a possibility of spreading the virus post inoculation. The CDC has stated that it is safe for fully vaccinated people to congregate indoors without masks and travel within the United States at relatively low risk to themselves.

It is also safe for vaccinated people to spend time maskless with the unvaccinated if the unvaccinated parties are not at increased risk of severe illness or death from the virus.

Experts still implore people to wear masks in public, socially distance, delay travel if possible, and avoid medium to large gatherings. The Cleveland Clinic estimates that anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of the population would need to be fully vaccinated before we reached herd immunity, or the point where enough people are vaccinated that the virus can no longer effectively spread. 

Until herd immunity is reached, the risk of continuing to spread the virus is real. As of April 7, 32.8 percent of Ohioans have gotten at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Across the country, 19.2 percent of people have reached the same metric. We still have quite a way to go.

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Twitter: @amhulvalchick

Email: ahulvalchick@vintonjacksoncourier.com

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