CLEVELAND (WJW)- Hundreds of groups have asked the state to be next in line to receive doses of the coronavirus vaccine in Ohio.
FOX 8 News obtained a list of more than 400 groups and associations that have petitioned the state to be prioritized for vaccination. Among them: funeral workers, grocery store workers, early childhood educators and ministers.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said his administration is working on a plan for additional groups and there is no timeframe for when those vaccinations may begin.
“Ultimately, the question is how do we save the most lives?” DeWine said at a news conference Tuesday.
He said the state will continue with vaccinations for teachers and those 65 and older for the, “Next few weeks.”
“Even after we tell them what group is next, we can’t tell them when that group is going to be,” he said.
State vaccine allotments are dependent on supply from the federal government.
George Catavolos, co-owner of Cannon LoPresti and Catavolos Funeral Home on Cleveland’s west side, said funeral workers should be prioritized for vaccination.
“We are essential, we are high risk, but we’re last responders,” he said.
He said two of three funerals planned at his funeral home this week stem from COVID-related deaths. Several of his employees have contracted the virus, including his business partner, who Catavolos said then suffered a stroke.
“From the decedents in the prep room, the dressing, the casketing, working visitation and services, it becomes an issue for all funeral personnel,” he said.
The Ohio Funeral Directors Association said, despite its pleas, Ohio remains one of only seven states that has not made death care workers a priority for vaccination.
“We feel that funeral professionals should be considered next in line to prevent the spread of the virus to our staff and the people that we serve,” Catavolos said.
A spokesman for DeWine said there’s no timeline yet for announcing additional vaccination groups and vaccine supply will be a key factor.