Despite rise in number of infections and Center for Disease Control prediction of "impending doom," four facilities are not giving vaccines.
Online PR News – 12-April-2021 – CLEVELAND, OHIO – Four of Cleveland Clinic's 11 main health facilities in northeast Ohio are not currently administering the COVID-19 vaccine, according to research by Lucky Star Communications, a Cleveland-based research and communications firm.
Cleveland Clinic spokesperson Alicia Real Cooney confirmed this in an email. "We selected various geographic locations throughout Northeast Ohio. Not all of our hospitals have vaccination clinics. We have a limited supply of vaccines, and that supply is determined by the state. We are distributing it according to ODH [Ohio Department of Health] guidelines at our designated vaccination clinics. We open up appointments based on supply. Individual doctors do not have the vaccine in their offices."
ODH spokesperson Alicia Shouts confirmed in a statement that it was Cleveland Clinic's own decision for these four facilities to not participate in the COVID-19 vaccination drive during the pandemic. "The Ohio Department of Health reviews and approves vaccine administration sites based on applications for administration we receive for a given provider. The Ohio Department of Health does not determine which facilities a hospital system chooses to enroll."
In an email, Dan Tierney, spokesperson for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, said the Governor had no comment on Cleveland Clinic's decision.
In a televised press conference in March, the Governor had urged full participation in the vaccine campaign. "We have the ability to end this. We can drive this virus into the ground. But we all have to participate."
Only 21 percent of Ohio residents have been fully vaccinated with two doses, according to the latest state figures. To reach herd immunity and put the virus out of business, a vaccination rate of 70 percent to 85 percent must be reached.
According to a senior nurse at Cleveland Clinic's Lakewood Family Health Center, that facility does not have the low-temperature refrigeration unit necessary to store the vaccines. "It's sad to think that Lakewood Family Health Center is not participating in the vaccination drive because they are too cheap to pay for a refrigerator," said Jeff Barge, CEO of Lucky Star Communications.
Elected officials for the four communities affected say they would welcome Cleveland Clinic's participation in the vaccination drive. "Absolutely," said Ohio State Senator Nickie Antonio, who represents Lakewood in the Ohio State Senate, in a phone call. "They’ve got the facilities. They’ve got parking. They’re equipped to do it, especially for their existing patients."
But Mr. Barge's personal doctor at Cleveland Clinic Lakewood emailed him: "Might be quicker to go to CVS? I don't handle any of the vaccination stuff."
According to the New York Times, there are huge groups of people — including 49 percent of Republican men and some ethnic groups with little reason to trust the medical establishment — who seem to refuse to be vaccinated, blocking the path to quick herd immunity. Without their cooperation, the pandemic might be greatly extended. For example, according to the New York Times, 49% of Republican males say they will refuse to be vaccinated.
Participation by trusted doctors can be key to overcoming vaccination reluctance, as Pres. Joe Biden recently said in Deadline: "I discussed it with my team, and they say the thing that has more impact than anything Trump would say to the MAGA folks is what the local doctor, what the local preachers, what the local people in the community say."
Director of the federal Center for Disease Control Rochelle Walensky has predicted "impending doom" under the present course of action.
There is currently a surplus of the vaccine.