Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner said the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) formally approved the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine for ages 5-11 in a Friday update on the health department’s Facebook page.
“I encourage the parents of our community to look closely at the safety data, the vaccine review process and their own family circumstances as they make their decisions,” Warner said. “But please, please, don’t use Facebook or other social media to make these kinds of decisions. Talk to your pediatrician, your health care provider or review the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) discussion of the topic. ACIP is the CDC’s vaccine review group and includes over a dozen pediatric doctors and researchers who have reviewed this topic more in-depth than most of us can ever hope to do. They have unanimously recommended the vaccine for use in children 5-11 years of age.”
Warner said that he understands that some parents are “hesitant” to take the step to have young children vaccinated. He included a link to the Ohio Department of Heath’s press conference in the update, which can be found below, that had pediatric doctors from the state answering common questions parents could have: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=54iWhEvwLyo.
He gave an update on new statistics about COVID-19 cases and vaccinations that were updated as of Nov. 4. He said Highland County averaged about 14 new cases per day on a seven-day average and that the CDC showed the county at a 240.96 average per 100,000 in population. Warner said the county looks to be “holding steady” after there was a small spike recently that brought the county over 300 cases per 100,000 in population.
He said the county had 165 active cases in the county, had 333 cumulative hospitalizations, 107 cumulative deaths — eight in the last two weeks — and that the county’s vaccination rate was at 36.3 percent. Warner also said the Southwest Ohio ICU capacity had improved to 98 percent (108 patients) which was “still not great.” He then said the Ohio Hospital Association reported that one in four patients in Southwest Ohio ICUs were at the time COVID-19 positive.
In other news, Warner said that school nurses still have problems where parents present photos of at-home tests they’d like to be used as a COVID-19 diagnosis verification. He said the school nurse and health department can’t use the at-home tests to make letters or excuse absences from school.
“The free rapid test kits provided by the health department through local libraries and community action locations all come with a free online proctor that can be used to make your test results “official.” I encourage you to use these systems if you need a work or school excuse,” Warner said.
Warner said that people have asked questions about possible future COVID-19 drive-thru clinics. He said the health department might do some outdoor clinics if there is some nice weather, but that the county is at a point in the weather season when it could be difficult. He said the reason for this is because the ink pens stop working when the temperature gets much below 45 degrees and that because of this, the clinics have been moved inside.
Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.