Vaccine Access Team created in Tuscarawas County

Vaccine Access Team created in Tuscarawas County

Jerry and Willi Marlowe


The Tuscarawas County Senior Center received a grant from the Ohio Department of Aging for $61,000 to be used to decrease vaccination hesitancy and increase the vaccination rate within Tuscarawas County.

A Vaccine Access Team was created, and those who are taking part in the team effort are representatives from both hospital systems and health departments in the county, Area Agency on Aging Region 9, numerous nonprofit organizations such as Access Tusc and the Tuscarawas Clinic for the Working Uninsured, local government officials like mayors and the county commissioners, and local media such as WJER and WTUZ, just to name a few.

As the lead agency, the Tuscarawas County Senior Center is facilitating the project with a great deal of involvement from others.

“It is a diverse group all wanting to promote the effectiveness of the vaccine but still recognizing that the vaccine is a personal choice. We are not supporting a vaccine mandate, but we are offering more information from our local, trustworthy and credible medical teams to those who are interested in learning more,” said Jamie L. Smith, executive director of the senior center. “We are thrilled to announce that this campaign will include free transportation for anyone in the county to access a vaccine event. Our transit providers here in Tuscarawas County are amazing to work with and are extremely generous in helping their community.”

The Vaccine Access Team is charged with increasing the vaccination rate for Tuscarawas County to reach over 60% by December 2021. Currently, the county statistics are showing 36.93% have completed the vaccine, and 39.71% have started the process, according to Ohio Department of Health.

“We want to provide events across the county to offer a safe and secure place to receive vaccine information without feeling pressured or steered,” Smith said. “These local events will allow the community to ask questions about the vaccine, and if they change their mind about receiving the vaccine, we will have medical staff there to vaccinate.”

The project is titled “Protect Against COVID-19” and is set to kick off on Monday, Sept. 20. Flyers with project information will be available at the Tuscarawas County Fair and heard on the local radio stations. The flyers will feature local faces the community can relate to with their stories of why they protected themselves and family by getting the vaccine.

Jerry and Willi Marlowe, retired pharmacist and business owner in the community, will be featured on a flyer to resonate with the senior population, and Kate Thompson, a registered nurse who had a very public battle against COVID-19 as she shared her experience using social media, also will be featured.

“We are hoping that the community will recognize these faces and trust in their decision to vaccinate. This may lead to their willingness to come to an event, listen to the material presented and leave with their first dose administered,” Smith said.

In partnership with the Tuscarawas County Health Department, the Vaccine Access Team will host seven events across the county with the kick-off on Sept. 30 at Claymont High School for a drive-thru vaccine clinic from 3-5 p.m. This event is offering Pfizer only for 12 and older.

On Oct. 6 the Tuscarawas County Senior Center will host a vaccine event from 4-6 p.m. This event will offer vaccine education and an opportunity to ask questions to medical personnel and receive either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine if desired. Anyone age 12 and older is encouraged to attend any of the events offered.

For those who need assistance with transportation to and from the events, the four transit providers in Tuscarawas County are offering free transportation: Access Tusc Transit, Horizons, Society for Equal Access and Tuscarawas County Senior Center. Rides to each event can be arranged by calling Access Tusc Transit at 234-801-8007.

A full list of the events are listed on the promotional flyers and the Tuscarawas County Senior Center website at under the COVID-19 tab.

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