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Vaccinations administered locally

Linda Harris - Registered Nurse Annie Ault was among Trinity Health System staffers who administered the Moderna vaccine Thursday at PrimeTime by appointment to more than 230 area residents. Day 2 of the vaccine clinic continues today, but all appointments have been filled.

STEUBENVILLE – Juanita Thorn plans to get the COVID-19 vaccine when her turn comes, but on Thursday she was at PrimeTime making sure her 80-something husband was protected.

“He’s 83, he has underlying conditions,” Thorn said. “If he would contract the coronavirus, that would be devastating – he has breathing issues already. I just want him protected as much as possible.”

Thorne’s husband was one of the 237 area residents who rolled up their sleeves Thursday to get the first of two doses of vaccine to protect against COVID-19, with another 160 scheduled to do the same today. All of them can get their second shot in about 28 days.

It was Trinity Health System’s first 1B vaccine clinic, open to individuals aged 80 and up who live in Ohio or utilize Trinity Health System for services. Appointments are required, and Trinity is working with Jefferson County Health District to schedule participants.

“As we continue to receive vaccine, we’ll continue to have clinics based on the guidelines from the state and what’s available,” Pharmacy Operations Manager Susan Adams said, noting they’d previously vaccinated about 1,000 employees.

“Moving forward, we’ll be working in conjunction with JCHD to maximize resources, to have a really clear picture to get residents vaccinated as quickly as possible.”

At the moment, there are two vaccines available – Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech – though a third, AstraZeneca, is in late-stage trials. Adams said Trinity is administering Moderna’s vaccine.

She said side effects have been mild.

“The most common one is a sore arm,” she said. “We’ve seen some mild reactions – fever, body aches and flu-like symptoms for a day or two until their immune system responds and the antibodies build up to fight the COVID – that’s the vaccine doing its job.”

Both vaccines now on the market claim to be 95 percent effective.

“It’s so new, they’re continuing to do studies,” Adams said. “As time goes on they’ll get more and more information.”

Thorn said she’s less worried about side effects than she is developing COVID-19, which has already killed people she knows.

“I had a friend ask me if I was worried about the side effects,” she said. “Any medication you take has side effects, you have to be somewhat forward thinking – and forward thinking, I’d like to be here this time next year.”

Thorn said her priority at the moment is to continue to take precautions – masking, washing hands, sanitizing and avoiding people who aren’t part of her family unit – until she, too, can be vaccinated.

“My husband had a massive stroke, his memory was affected,” she explained. “I’m not only his wife, I’m his caretaker.”

Trinity Marketing Director Laurie Labishak said today’s clinic will also be at PrimeTime, but down the road “we’re looking into other site locations.” Until then, she said residents who don’t drive or don’t have cars should call PrimeTime to schedule a ride.

“PrimeTime will provide transportation for vaccinations,” she said, “So if you can’t get there on your own, if you call the transportation office at PrimeTime, they’ll make arrangements for you to get there.”

Thorn doesn’t mind admitting the coronavirus scares her.

“This is a terrible disease,” she said. “People are not able to be with their families, they’re not able to say proper goodbyes. Families are losing loved ones and they’re not able to be with them, that’s going to stay with them for a long time. My daughter-in-law to be had a mild case, she didn’t have to go to the hospital, but she’s still somewhat tired. There are after-effects.

“I am afraid – I don’t want to be sick, not that kind of sick,” Thorn added. “It’s just a terrible situation.”

All slots for Day 2 of today’s clinic have been filled. Additional clinics will be scheduled when vaccine is available and distributed in accordance with the governor’s guidelines.

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