| Coshocton Tribune
COSHOCTON – Many elected officials said they would receive the COVID-19 vaccine when made available to them as they trust the medical professionals and see its importance for their own health and the good of the community.
The Centers of Disease Control has announced phases for vaccine distribution, which started in December. The first phase was medical workers and staff and residents of long-term care facilities. Phase two will be those older than 75 and essential frontline employees, including teachers. Phase three should include everyone else.
The Ohio Department of Health on Jan. 7 reported 469 vaccinations had been administered in Coshocton County. The next phase, termed 1B, will start Jan. 19 across the state.
Coshocton County Commissioners recently issued a letter to the Coshocton County Health Department stating they are willing to provide any assistance needed for the distribution of the vaccine. This includes office staff for data entry and personnel of Coshocton County Emergency Medical Services to give shots. It’s also offering county facilities for vaccine distribution if needed.
Commissioner Gary Fischer said he plans to get the vaccine when available to him.
Fischer said he believes “the vaccine is the quickest way to restore normalcy to our lives and get our struggling businesses healthy again.”
Judge Robert Batchelor of Coshocton County Common Pleas Court said the city and county health departments have done an excellent job in providing guidance to him on operations of the court. Additionally, commissioners have made every tool possible available to secure the safety of the Coshocton County Courthouse.
Batchelor said he would take the vaccine when made available.
“COVID-19 is far deadlier than the annual flu and at the core of my religious beliefs is the idea that all human life is precious and sacred. If I can do something simple like take a vaccine to help keep others safe, then I’m going to do it,” Batchelor said.
Mayor Stephen Bordenkircher of West Lafayette said he would take the vaccine as he’s older than 65 with several health issues. He also “trusts the technology and believes we have to do what is best for the community and ourselves.”
Coshocton Mayor Mark Mills said he would get the vaccine as well, but he’s not in any risk groups and would want the people who most need it to get it first. He gave kudos to the city and county health departments, Coshocton Regional Medical Center and Coshocton County Emergency Management Agency for their tireless work during the pandemic. He also thanked everyone in the community who have taken precautionary measures like wearing masks and practicing social distancing.
“We could of all lived without going through this pandemic, but hopefully, like any dilemma we encounter in life, we all learned something that will make us all stronger, more resilient people,” Mills said. “I feel very blessed to be part of such a tight knit community and to have the opportunity to work with a great group of people that truly care about the safety and well-being of our entire county.”
Sherry Kirkpatrick, auditor for the city, said she was initially hesitant but she has to believe the testing and science that went into the vaccine before being rolled out.
“I often ask myself, ‘What if I’m a carrier and don’t even know it.’ I would hate the thought that I exposed someone like my stepfather, who is 84-years-old and has a weaken immune system,” she said. “I want us to get back to some semblance of normal, so if taking the COVID-19 shot gets us there, I’m in.”
Coshocton County Auditor Chris Sycks tested positive for COVID-19 in November. She did not need hospitalized, but recovery took about three weeks. Doctors believe even if someone has had COVID-19, they can contract it again. She would get the vaccines as she believes it’s the best way to stop its spread. She knows it’s nasty to have from firsthand experience.
She also gives kudos to the Coshocton County Health Department, which was helpful in answering questions during her infection. Sycks was concerned about a 94-year-old friend she had contact with the day prior to her positive test, albeit with masks and being socially distanced. Sycks said the health department loaned the woman a thermometer to check her temperature and contacted her daily during the quarantine period.
“I have a son in California and a daughter in her fourth year of medical school, so I get a wide range of opinions and information. I think the only thing we can do is follow the recommendations based on what we know of COVID-19, which changes all the time, and do what we can to help protect others,” Sycks said. “We’re called to love our neighbors – one way I can do that is by wearing a mask. We huggers are not okay with social distancing, but I am distancing and looking so forward to when I can hug my family and friends again.”
The Coshocton Tribune did not contact every elected official in Coshocton County for this story or heard back from all who were sent an email.