Citizens For A Better Norwood

Monday, December 07, 2009

Norwood officials’ letter to ODH: distribute more H1N1 vaccine

Below is the December 3 letter from Mayor Tom Williams and Health Commissioner Pamela Walker-Bauer asking the Ohio Department of Health to release more H1N1 vaccine because our Norwood Health Department has been prepared to start inoculating the larger local population (Tier 2) since Thanksgiving. Ms. Walker-Bauer had been fervently communicating this fact to the ODH via phone and conference calls for two weeks prior to the sending the letter, or as she put it, she had been “figuratively jumping up and down and screaming and shouting to ODH officials that we, in Norwood, were ready.”

Ms. Walker-Bauer doesn’t credit her and Mayor Williams' efforts with the ODH’s decision to release more H1N1 vaccine (see press release immediately below), but we’re going to give credit for both tenacity and preparedness. Today, she, Mayor Williams, and RN Betsy Nabors, and perhaps others, are meeting to discuss strategies for moving to the larger population. We will publish those details as soon as they are available.

December 3, 2009

Alvin D. Jackson, MD
Director, Ohio Department of Health
246 North High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Dr. Jackson:

Since October 12, 2009, the Norwood City Health Department has administered over 3,500 H1N1 vaccinations to Tier 1 clients with a staff of 5 employees (2 nurses) that serve a population of over 21,000 residents. We completed the first round of school-based mass vaccination clinics on October 26, 2009. We then completed a second round of school-based clinics on November 20, 2009 to cover the second dose recommendation for the under 10 population, as well as to provide anyone who missed the first dose with vaccine. During that time period, we have also conducted 7 mass vaccination clinics.

We also have shared the 2009 H1N1 vaccine with approved providers and other local health departments who needed vaccine assistance in serving the Tier 1 population. Our last two clinics at the Norwood Health Department have been filled with a majority of non-Norwood residents. The information we are providing to you clearly supports that the Norwood City Health Department has saturated the Tier 1 market in our community. Which brings us to the purpose of this letter; the Norwood City Health Department has been ready to serve the Tier 2 population of our community since Thanksgiving.

Since many other state health departments are opening up the vaccine beyond Tier 1, we respectfully request that you will do the same in Ohio. We understand that some of the larger health jurisdictions may not be ready for the next level, but in Norwood, we indeed are ready! Unfortunately, our voice is not being heard over the larger, more vocal health jurisdictions.

The regional public health coordinator for Southwest Ohio recently gathered data indicating that there are at least 50,000 doses of vaccine in Southwest Ohio ready for distribution. We have a moral and ethical obligation to distribute this vaccine now before the next upswing in H1N1 cases. We are hopeful that you will look favorably on our request and allow us to move forward in this mass vaccination campaign.


Thomas F. Williams
Norwood Mayor
Board of Health President

Pamela Walker-Bauer, MPH, RS
Norwood Health Commissioner
Secretary to the Board of Health