Packard encourages COVID vaccine, shares poster idea

6th Ward Councilman Dennis Packard (left) discussed his idea of promoting the Covid-19 vaccines through a poster campaign during the City Council session on Dec. 28. Photo by Patrick Keck.

SCIOTO — COVID vaccines are being carried out by the hundreds in Scioto County each day and Portsmouth 6th Ward Councilman Dennis Packard wants the public to not just support it, but to actively promote it.

During his first report as a Council member on Monday, Packard suggested citizens create posters that encourages their neighbors to take the vaccine when it is their turn.

“It just can’t be overstated, I believe that if we do all the things they encourage and do them properly and have the vaccine when it’s our turn that the total of all of it is what it’s to going to stop this thing out” said Packard in an interview with the Portsmouth Daily Times, backing the reports from the Ohio Department of Health.

With his poster proposal, Packard has reached to East High School arts teacher Robin Slusher, Portsmouth City Health Department Public Information Officer Cathy Mullins, and varying local businesses.

“I think anyway that we can promote the vaccine and taking healthy precautions is a great way to do it, ” said Mullins. “We certainly appreciate that he’s stepping up to help us out in this way.”

A retired nurse, Packard joins public health experts in the belief that the vaccines will provide a path for normalcy next year. To get to the point of herd immunity, Cleveland Clinic Chief Research and Academic Officer Dr. Serpil Erzurum projects that 50-80% of the population will need to be inoculated.

“The key to stopping this is the whole picture,” he said, the need for masks and social distancing continuing with the vaccine. “We did it with smallpox, we can do it with this.”

Statewide, over 94,000 people or 0.80% of Ohio’s population have received the 1st of two vaccines and 1,481 have started the process in the county as of Dec. 30. In terms of population share, Scioto’s 1.97% is the highest portion of all state counties according to the ODH dashboard.

Ohio is in the first of four phases in its vaccine rollout, this one divided into Phase One-A and Phase One-B. The next part of this phase will focus on the elderly and those with severe medical disorders the goal of vaccinating adults

“Ohioans in the 65 and older category make up just under 87% of COVID deaths. This is a stunning number, and it’s critical that we protect our older Ohioans,” said Governor Mike DeWine in Dec. 9 press release.

When the time comes for his vaccine, Packard said he wouldn’t mind following suit with other politicians in taking the vaccine publicly. All fellow Council members- Mayor Kevin Johnson, 1st Ward Councilman Sean Dunne, 2nd Ward Councilwoman Charlotte Gordon, 4th Ward Councilwoman Lyvette Mosley, and 5th Ward Councilman Edwin Martell- are also planning on taking it.

Johnson added that he wants to make sure the area’s frontline workers all get the first opportunity to receive the vaccine.

Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved.