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Here's why state and local COVID-19 vaccination rates differ

If you're looking at your county's COVID-19 vaccination rates, you may notice gaps between what's being reported regionally compared to what your state's reporting.

Nearly 57% of Hamilton County residents have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. That's according to the Ohio Department of Health. However, Greater Cincinnati's 'Get Out The Vax' campaign reports 69% of the county's residents have received a dose. Kate Schroder from The Health Collaborative says the state reports the number of vaccinations among the total population, while The Health Collaborative reports vaccinations among those eligible for a vaccine.

"We want to be more accurate and really look at how we're doing with those that can actually get the vaccine," Schroder said.

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus says there's value in recognizing both numbers.

"The eligible number is really important because we need to keep pushing, especially in those lower age groups - but then you start to realize not everybody's eligible - so really it is less of a percentage of the entire population," Driehaus said.

Currently, the CDC only recommends Pfizer vaccines for those ages 12 and up. The FDA will meet later this month to discuss its usage among children ages 5 through 11.

Hamilton County reaches a grim milestone

Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Oct. 6, 2021 COVID-19 briefing)

Hamilton County has officially reached a grim milestone of more than 100,000 COVID-19 cases, officials announced during Wednesday's COVID-19 briefing. More than 4,000 cases were reported in the previous two weeks. Despite this, Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman notes that daily case numbers are declining.

"Looking at cases per day here in Hamilton County, we are at around 291 cases per day this morning," Kesterman said. "Our most recent peak was on September 16 - we had 419 cases."

However, the county is currently dealing with roughly 8,100 active cases.

Hamilton County Commission (screenshot from Oct. 6, 2021 COVID-19 briefing)

COVID-19 hospitalizations within the region are declining at a slow rate, according to Kesterman. Currently, 521 people are hospitalized within the region with 163 in the ICU and 120 of those patients on ventilators. He says over the last 30 days, the numbers have begun to plateau and are headed in the right direction.

"We know that folks who are showing up at the hospital are getting quick treatment and as often as possible, not staying in the hospital systems because our hospitals are very, very full," Kesterman said. "Caution is still needed to protect our hospital systems."

He also noted that roughly 80% of the hospitalizations are unvaccinated people.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.