YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown City Health District vaccinated about 250 people in Phase 1B on Friday, which includes those ages 65 and older.
Michael Chervany, of Canfield, received the vaccine on Friday from Frank Ballone, a retired registered nurse who volunteered to administer vaccines after seeing the need.
Chervany said he was anxious to receive the vaccine but felt good during his 15 minute observation period.
“Maybe I can get back to a little bit of normalcy,” Chervany said.
He said he will continue to wear his mask, especially since he has to wear it at work all day at Toyota of Boardman. He said he would like to be able to travel on airplanes again to visit his family in Washington.
“If I was a little bit younger… I think I’d take a chance, but I’m getting up there,” Chervany said.
Director of Environmental Health Tara Cioffi said the health department is happy to have enough space at the Eugenia Atkinson Recreation Center, 903 Otis St., to administer coronavirus vaccines.
The recreation center is set up with different stations to reinforce social distancing. There is a waiting area at the entrance of the gym to fill out registration forms, a room to submit forms and receive a date to receive the second dose, a room to receive the vaccine and chairs in the gym used for the 15-minute observation period after receiving the vaccine.
People can also drive up to the front building, and a nurse will come outside to administer the vaccine if they are unable to get out of their car. Family, caregivers and volunteers are allowed to come to assist those receiving the vaccine.
Health Commissioner Erin Bishop told Mahoning Matters Thursday that vaccine appointments are scheduled every five minutes. She said this has resulted in virtually no wait times.
Youngstown City Health District began administering Moderna coronavirus vaccines to Phase 1A on Dec. 30. Cioffi said the department will start giving out second doses starting Wednesday.
Phase 1A includes health care workers, EMS responders, people with developmental disabilities and residents and staff at congregate care facilities.
Phase 1B includes Ohioans age 65 and older, employees of K-12 schools and those living with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders. A full list of Phase 1B timing is available on the Ohio Department of Health's website.
Cioffi said the 65 and older age group is the most susceptible to COVID-19 with the highest statistics in hospitalizations and deaths.
“We really want to focus on who COVID-19 is going to affect the most with the long-term period ... and get them taken care of,” Cioffi said.
Cioffi said the health department has not experienced anyone having reactions after receiving the vaccine.
“Everyone that we’ve done from our congregate care to our 80-plus group through health care workers have just been extremely grateful,” Cioffi said.
Youngstown City Health District is expected to receive 500 doses each week to continue to administer the first and second doses of the coronavirus vaccine. A shipment of 500 vaccines will arrive every Tuesday and have to be administered within seven days.
So far this week, the department administered about 25 vaccines on Tuesday, 60 vaccines on Wednesday and about 250 vaccines Thursday. The remainder of the vaccines will be given on Saturday.
Next week, the health department will be at the Eugenia Atkinson Recreation Center every day to continue vaccinating Phase 1B and the remainder of Phase 1A.
People who are qualified to receive the vaccine can sign up on the health department's website or call 330-743-3333.