COVID-19 vaccine

MOUNT VERNON -- As the New Year gets underway, Knox Public Health (KPH) will offer less testing for COVID-19 and instead shift its efforts to administering vaccine to prevent the disease.

KPH will offer testing for COVID-19 on Jan. 5 by appointment only and then take a break from testing.

KPH offers free testing for symptomatic individuals, only. To make an appointment, call 740-399-8014. Testing at KPH is expected to resume later, but a specific time has not been decided.

In the meantime, KPH is awaiting delivery of additional vaccine to administer to local residents. So far, only 200 doses of Moderna vaccine have been received by the agency. As of Thursday (Dec. 30) 180 doses had been distributed to Phase 1A recipients with the remaining doses scheduled to be administered the first week of January. Phase 1A vaccine recipients include emergency medical service workers; congregate care facilities such as group home residents and staff; medical providers, especially those doing COVID testing at their facilities; and home health staff.

KPH has not been informed when the next shipment of vaccine will be arriving, but when it does, it will be offered to remaining Phase 1A individuals, said Health Commissioner Julie Miller.

“As soon as everyone in that group who wants vaccine, receives it, we will move on to local residents in the next phase.” Phase 1B includes those who are age 65 and older; those living with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders; and adults who work in schools.

Miller said KPH has received several calls from senior citizens wanting the vaccine.

“We do not have a waiting list, and are not encouraging people to call,” said Miller. “When the vaccine arrives and the type of clinics are decided, we will give people plenty of notice through the media, our website and social media plus we will notify those who have contacted us.”

The manner of administering the vaccine will be determined regarding how much arrives. If a large amount of vaccine arrives, the agency may offer a drive-thru clinic; if shipments continue in smaller amounts, it might be distributed via appointment.

Due to the large number of people in Phase 1B, there is expected to be several opportunities for individuals to get the vaccine. There might be a combination of drive-thru clinics as well as clinics by appointment.

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