Demand for COVID-19 vaccinations has seen a sharp decline in Miami County in recent days, leaving officials struggling to fill appointments at their daily vaccination clinics.

“There are a lot of vaccinations that need to be done in Miami County if we are going to achieve herd immunity,” Dr. Tom Guthrie, with the county’s board of health, told the Tribune on Monday.

Nancy Lewis, a coordinator who works with scheduling for the county health department said the vaccine team had plans for a mass vaccination clinic on Saturday with 600 doses of the Moderna vaccine available.

“Right now we only have seven patients scheduled,” she said.

Those patients, she said, have been combined to appointments in the morning hours, leaving the vaccination team free to head out of town to do a mass vaccination clinic for a company later the afternoon just so the vaccine doses get used and don’t go to waste.

Lewis said it is the first sharp decline that the team has seen since doses became available to the public.

Tuesday, she said, they had 150 doses available to be administered. They would likely hit that mark, she said, but by Wednesday they expected to drop below 100 doses administered.

“Thursday it drops to 56,” she said. “So we are steadily (on) a real big decline during our week,” she said.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 7,800 of Miami County’s roughly 35,000 residents had received at least their first dose of an available vaccine. Of those, 5,566 had been fully vaccinated, according to state data.

Dr. James Rudolph, the county’s new health officer, who just took over at the start of this week, said the challenge now is to convince those who have not been vaccinated to do so, because many of those remaining either don’t think they need to be or are otherwise resistant to the idea.

“I think our biggest problem is getting word out to the community,” he said. “These are going to be tough sells.”