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Northeast Ohio counties roll out plans for new COVID bivalent vaccine clinics

Generic COVID-19 Omicron vaccine booster
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The new boosters created by Pfizer and Moderna received emergency use authorization from the FDA. They protect individuals against the original virus strain and the new BA.4 and BA.5 variants.

Summit County Public Health (SCPH) will hold two drive-thru clinics to provide new COVID-19 booster shots. These newly authorized shots are reformulated versions of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines and will target omicron variants currently circulating.

The clinics will be held on Wednesday and Thursday at 1867 W. Market St. in Akron from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Appointments are required to get the shots, according to a SCPH media release. No walk-ins will be accepted. To book an appointment, visit ww.scph.org/covid/vaccine or call 330-926-5795.

Medical Director Dr. Erika Sobolewski said there’s about 350 slots available, but she hopes they will offer more.

“If there’s interest and there’s people and we have vaccine we’ll definitely do more drive thrus if the interests persists as well," Sobolewski said.

Sobolewski said the health department already had to turn people away who wanted the booster before the shipment arrived Tuesday.

"So people are excited to get going with something that's catered more to the current viral type," Sobolewski said.

Sobolewski said they're not sure when the health department will be able to order more vaccines.

"I think they're waiting to see how quickly people go through them," Sobolewski said, "so from our, Summit County's, perspective, we're anxious to see what type of uptake there is in these two drive thrus."

The new boosters are available for those ages 12 and older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Members of the public are eligible for the new boosters two or more months after their most recent booster or the completion of their primary vaccine series, the release said.

The Summit County drive-thru clinics will provide both the new Moderna and Pfizer shots.

Lake County General Health District will also be offering the bivalent boosters starting tomorrow at all of its clinic locations. Appointments can be made through ArmorVax or by calling 440-350-2188. The health department is also taking appointments for homebound patients, which can be made by calling 216-346-3206.

Director of Community Health Services Dyan Denmeade said 300 appointments will be available at first. She said if the public is as eager to get boosted as last time, they will run out fast.

Stark County Health Department will be offering the bivalent boosters on Thursday at an event at Kent State Stark. Faculty, staff and community members are invited to get boosted from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Vaccines will be administered in the Ohio Department of Health's Mobile Unit. They will also be providing first and second doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The event will take place at the corner of Frank Avenue NW and West Boulevard in Parking Lot 100.

Lorain County Public Health is offering the vaccine at their office. They are not planning on holding booster clinics in other locations, but a spokesperson said if they see a demand, they may reconsider. Appointments can be made to get the booster, but walk ins are also welcome. The shot is offered every day between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Next Tuesday, the health department will be open until 6:00 p.m. for vaccinations. A spokesperson said they have plenty of vaccines and enough to go around. For more information, visit the health department's website or call 440-322-6367.

Cuyahoga County Board of Health hopes to be administering shots by the end of the week, but spokesperson Kevin Brennan says they're still awaiting further instructions from the CDC. He says once they are able, the vaccines will be available at their office and community clinics. To make an appointment at the board of health, call 216-201-2041 or email ccbhnurse@ccbh.net.

Stephanie is the digital producer/editor of Ideastream Public Media’s health team.
Abigail Bottar covers Akron, Canton, Kent and the surrounding areas for Ideastream Public Media. A Northeast Ohio native and lifelong listener of public radio, Abigail started in public radio as a news intern at WKSU. She graduated in 2022 with a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Kent State University.