MAHONING VALLEY Calls die down after clinics
Vaccines are to be available this week for those who did not get the medication Friday.
By NANCY TULLIS
VINDICATOR SALEM BUREAU
SALEM -- Although state health officials have returned to Columbus, they will continue to monitor area hospitals for possible cases of meningococcal disease.
Jay Kerry, Ohio Department of Health information officer, said Monday that most ODH officials had returned to Columbus by Saturday.
Area health department officials staffed a hot line until 10 p.m. Sunday.
Kerry said about 3,200 calls were made to the hot line Tuesday through Sunday, but the volume of calls dropped significantly after Friday's vaccination clinics.
Health officials established the hot line Tuesday to answer questions and hopefully calm fears after 15-year-old West Branch students Jonathan Stauffer and Kelly Coblentz died over the Memorial Day weekend in a meningococcal outbreak.
Smooth sailing: Kerry said about 4,200 people were vaccinated against meningococcal disease Friday at six sites.
He said the clinics ran smoothly, as expected.
"The staffs of local health departments run immunization clinics all the time," Kerry said. "Sometimes they give 1,200 or 1,500 vaccinations. The logistics of this were much more involved because there were so many sites."
Kerry praised volunteers who staffed Friday's clinics. The aim was to vaccinate some 5,800 students and staff in six school districts along the U.S. Route 62 corridor between Salem and Louisville, including Salem, West Branch and Sebring.
Vaccines are to be made available this week for those who did not get the medication Friday. Checks should be made with either the Mahoning or Columbiana county health departments for inoculation schedules.
"The outpouring of support was unbelievable," Kerry said.
"Besides the many nurses, there were firefighters and EMTs available, local clergy and Red Cross volunteers."
"Firefighters and the Red Cross provided food for the volunteers. All that says a lot about the people in those communities."