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OU program to help distribute vaccines

Ohio University’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Community Health Programs will distribute COVID-19 vaccines in southeast Ohio via its mobile clinics.

OU announced the program Monday.

The college will work with health departments in counties with the highest need for approximately two months to distribute the vaccines.

“We have worked with communities in these counties for decades to deliver health care services, including administering vaccines,” said Ken Johnson, Chief Medical Affairs Officer and Heritage College Executive Dean. “We are working closely with the local health departments to craft programs that support and expand the very good work of our local health department partners.”

The medical school’s mobile clinics represent one of the 15 mass vaccination sites announced in Ohio by Gov. Mike DeWine on Friday.

“Mass vaccination clinics have always been part of our plan, but adequate supply is necessary for larger sites, so it was crucial that we first established local provider sites in all 88 counties to ensure that every citizen in every community has a provider nearby,” said DeWine. “Now that we have more than 1,250 local vaccine providers and a significant increase in vaccine supply expected at the end of March, this is the right time to finalize and prepare to launch these large-scale regional clinics.”

Marietta was also named a site for state-sponsored mass vaccination clinics.

The regional mass vaccination clinics, which will begin opening in the coming weeks as supply becomes available, will operate until they are no longer necessary.

“The Heritage College has long provided essential medical care to populations in need through its mobile clinics, so we are well-prepared to take on this important task,” OU President M. Duane Nellis said. “I am proud that we have the infrastructure, expertise and relationships already in place to play this crucial role in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Clinic details, including locations, dates and times, will be released as soon as they are available.

The mobile clinics are the latest step OU and its medical school have taken to assist with COVID vaccine delivery.

The Athens City-County Health Department has been administering vaccines at the new Heritage Hall since January as have the Washington County Health Department and when available, the Marietta-Belpre Health Department alongside private vaccinations of staff and patients of the Memorial Health System.

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