YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown City Health District expects to administer about 520 coronavirus vaccinations today (Thursday) at its first mass vaccination clinic from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Covelli Centre downtown.
City Health Commissioner Erin Bishop said the health department will receive about 500 Johnson and Johnson vaccines each week to continue with the larger clinics through May with help from the Ohio National Guard.
Bishop said the one-dose vaccine makes the process go faster since dates for the second dose don’t have to be planned.
Bishop said the health department staff is great at making the clinics run smoothly.
After helping to vaccinate over 1,000 people at Youngstown State University earlier this week, vaccinating 500 people is easy for the staff, she said.
“We've got it down to a science,” Bishop said.
Since the Ohio National Guard is assisting at the Covelli Centre, the rest of the health department staff is able to administer second doses at the Eugenia Atkinson Recreation Center.
Dates for future clinics at the Covelli Centre will be April 8, April 14, April 22, April 29 and May 6. People can schedule an appointment on the health department’s website or call 330-502-4276.
Angel Cruz, of Youngstown, said it took about a month for him to be able to get an appointment once ages 50 and older were eligible for the vaccine.
Cruz said he was nervous about getting the vaccine but felt better afterward.
“I’m glad I did it,” Cruz said.
Eric Harper, of Boardman, said he was “incredibly relieved” to get the vaccine and looks forward to things getting back to normal.
He said it took a couple of hours for him to find an appointment when it opened up to his age bracket, but it was easy to book an appointment online.
“It was surprisingly fast and efficient,” Harper said.
Tom Miller said he came from Pittsburgh to receive the vaccine at the Covelli Centre. He got there an hour early just to make sure he would not miss his appointment.
Pennsylvania is still in Phase 1A for people who are eligible for the vaccine. Miller said he was grateful that Gov. Mike DeWine allowed people to come from Pennsylvania to receive the vaccine.
“If it wasn’t for this, I couldn’t get a shot yet,” Miller said.Miller said the clinic was efficient and the staff was friendly. He said he was very happy to finally get the vaccine and felt like it was the first step to getting this past year behind everyone.
“I think, behind the mask, a lot of people here are smiling,” Miller said.