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Vaccine clinic sets up shop in Bridgeport

BRIDGEPORT — The Belmont County Health Department kept up the drive Friday to vaccinate area students before the summer months in keeping with Gov. Mike DeWine’s goal.

On Friday, health department staff were offering doses at Bridgeport High School. About 15 students were expected to receive their first dose of the Pfizer BioNTech version of the vaccine, which is cleared for recipients younger than 18. For the past two weeks, vaccination clinics have been set up in school districts and in Bellaire near Ohio 7.

“We started it at 1:30 p.m. and it’s going to go to 3:30 p.m. It is based on students who with parent permission and parent consent would like to get the vaccine,” Principal Tom Daley said. “We had a staff vaccination clinic back in February and March. About 90 of our staff members are now fully vaccinated. … It’s a good percentage of the staff.”

Daley did not speculate if students chose to be vaccinated at other locations.

“This is kind of a new thing, so it’s not surprising to not have a large number of students taking advantage of it. Over time, I think it’ll become more common for students to get the vaccination,” he said. “Overall our students have been outstanding this year. They’ve adjusted very well. We haven’t had issues wearing masks and they’re following the guidelines. It’s been a big adjustment for them, but they’ve done a really good job of it and we’re proud of them.”

Many younger people who are choosing to be vaccinated have expressed an interest in traveling and socializing during summer, and Daley said the Bridgeport students are no exception.

“I think they’re all looking forward to getting back to normal, and they know the things we had to do as far as masks, sanitizing and all that, that’s a step toward normal, and vaccinations is another step toward normal,” he said. “I think the biggest thing they’re looking forward to is enjoying time with their friends and family that they didn’t get to last year.”

In other matters, WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital stopped administering first dose COVID-19 vaccines this past Tuesday. This decision comes after a decrease in demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Belmont County.

“Due to the low demand in the area right now, we are putting those on hold temporarily,” Kim Young, WVU Medicine Barnesville Hospital infection control coordinator and employee health nurse, said. The hospital will continue administering second doses at the hospital. “We only administered about 20 first doses this week and 50 doses total, including second doses.”

Meanwhile, Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul reported another coronavirus-related death of a county resident on Friday. The 117 fatality was a man in his 50s. Sproul said a total of 6,219 cases have been confirmed during the pandemic, with 5,799 recoveries and 303 active infections.

Anyone still in need of a COVID-19 vaccine should visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov to find a vaccination location. The Belmont County Health Department can also be visited at belmontcountyhealth.com or call 740-695-1202.

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