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CLEVELAND (WJW)– The Ohio Department of Health estimates the next phase of COVID-19 vaccinations could begin in two weeks.

Phase 1B of vaccinations will include people 65 and older, those with severe, congenial, developmental, or early on-set medical disorders, in addition to K-12 teachers and staff who plan to return to in-person learning.

The new phase will allow vaccinations for more than 2.2 million people, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

As vaccine rollout continues questions remain, including can you still test positive for the virus after getting the first dose of the vaccine?

“It takes 14 days for the vaccine to start having an effect so after you get the vaccine two weeks is as if you haven’t had it yet so you could still get infected with COVID-19,” said Dr. David Margolius, MetroHealth division director of internal medicine.

The United Kingdom recently announced it would prolong the amount of time between vaccine doses in order to vaccinate more people; Delaying a second dose of the vaccine up to 12 weeks after the first dose.

On Monday, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned extending the length of time between doses, changing doses, or mixing and matching vaccines in order to vaccinate more people could place public health at risk and suggesting changes to FDA authorized dosing or schedules is not rooted solidly in available evidence.

“If you get sick because you don’t have protection yet from the vaccine then yes, you can still spread it,” Margolius said

At MetroHealth, second doses of the Pfizer vaccine are being administered this week. A Cleveland Clinic spokesperson said those first to receive the vaccine are also scheduled for their booster dose this week and next week.

Although some in Cleveland are set to get their final dose of the vaccine, for many on the front line it’s one step forward during a grueling pandemic.

“We are exhausted, I think the whole country is exhausted right now,” Margolius said.

He said it could be up to six months before things look anything like they did this time last year.

“The finish line feels so close now because of the vaccines but we are so very much in the middle.” 

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