Editor, The Messenger,

I am writing as a support to our Athens County Health Department. As many of you are very aware, in Phase 1B of the COVID vaccine response, persons 65 and over will be given the opportunity to receive the vaccine. The health department has worked tirelessly to help all of the citizens of Athens County during this pandemic. In our rural settings, we do not have the personnel and the resources that other communities have, we can be proud of the work they are doing. It may appear that it is not enough, when you receive busy signals and are unable to leave messages, but know they are working very hard to serve all of us.

We have over 8,800 persons age 65 and over living in the county. Each one of these people are eligible to receive the vaccine in Phase 1B when the vaccine is available. The small staff of the health department is working hard to compile accurate data so everyone who is wanting to be vaccinated can have that opportunity. I am asking that our community offer them support and give them the patience they deserve.

United Seniors of Athens County has operated as a nationally accredited senior center since 1980. Our agency and the seniors we serve, have seen many hard times, this is probably the hardest times, we have faced. At the senior center, we are assisting persons by taking the names of interested parties and registering those people on the link made available by the health department. Contact us by telephone at 740-594-3535, we will help you. This will assist the health department in contacting persons when the vaccine is available in Athens County. By adding to the interest list, it does not guarantee your spot at the head of the list, but know the health department will continue to work to ensure that everyone who wants to be vaccinated will have that opportunity when the vaccine is available.

We all want this pandemic to end, the vaccine is one way we can begin this process, but remain patient and hopeful. In the meantime, continue your safe distancing, your wearing of masks, your hand-washing and your kindness to others.

Sincerely,

Joyce Lewis, Executive Director, United Seniors of Athens County

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