Ohio deals with vaccine scarcity while expanding to older residents

Coronavirus
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WJW)– The state of Ohio will expand availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to those 80 years and older next week.

The first phase of administering the vaccine focused on health care workers, first responders, and staff and residents of nursing homes. There has been significant progress in vaccinating those at the 930 nursing homes in Ohio.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said when pharmacies return to nursing homes for the second dose of the vaccine, they are seeing more residents and staff accept the vaccination.

DeWine said 87 percent of all COVID-19 deaths in Ohio were in people 65 years and older. He said 54 percent of people in the state who died of the virus came out of nursing homes.

“Our goals are to No. 1 save lives, Nov. 2 to get our kids back in school and No. 3 to help our first line, medical personnel who are working every day with COVID patients,” DeWine said. “Those goals drive absolutely everything we do.”

The vaccine will be opened up to residents ages 80 and older on Jan. 19; residents 75 and older, and those with severe congenital, developmental and early onset medical disorders on Jan. 25; residents ages 70 and older, and employees of K-12 schools that wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid learning on Feb. 1; and ages 65 and older on Feb. 8. It’s part of phase 1B.

Ohio will receive about 100,000 doses next week and there are about 425,000 people 80 and older.

“We can do the math and it’s going to take a while. But we wanted to get started and frankly, we wanted to give our 80-year-olds who have the most risk, the most risk at least a week head start,” DeWine said.

The Ohio Department of Health said 3.09 percent, or 361,603 people, of the state’s population has received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

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