See who would get vaccinated first under Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccination draft plan

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CLEVELAND (WJW) — Ohio submitted its COVID-19 Vaccination Draft Plan to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When a vaccine is approved for use under the plan, high-risk healthcare workers and first responders are listed as the first to get vaccinated.

“Phase 1B” of the state’s draft vaccination plan includes older adults living in communal or overcrowded settings and people at a significantly higher risk due to comorbid or underlying conditions.

“We anticipate the vaccine will come in waves,” said Cuyahoga County Board of Health Commissioner Terry Allan. “It won’t all be available at once.”

Under Phase 2 of the plan “critical risk workers essential to society,” explained as healthcare, public health and human services operations at high risk of exposure are listed, followed by teachers and school staff, all ages of people with comorbid and underlying conditions and older adults not included in the first phase of vaccinations. 

People in homeless shelters, group homes for people in recovery or with mental or physical disabilities are also included in Phase 2. In addition to people and staff in detention centers, jails and prisons.

“The goal in the guidance from the recommendations from the national academies is that there should be no out-of-pocket expense for anyone so that would not be a co-pay or any other charge,” said Allan.

There are not many details in the draft plan addressing how much time is expected to pass between each phase of the vaccine rollout and how many vaccines would be available at each phase. 

“Quite honestly that’s the unknown and that’s why it’s listed that way we don’t have a firm timeline at all,” said Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.

“A vaccine will be approved for groups it will be phased, it will be rolled out whether that happens in six months, or 18 months, or two years we don’t know yet,” she said.

Phase 3 of vaccinations includes young adults, children, “workers in industries and occupations important to the functioning of society” at an increased risk of exposure and not included in prior phases. 

The final phase of vaccinations includes everyone else living in Ohio who was not previously mentioned.

“The infrastructure for vaccine distribution exists in the community,” said Allan. “…We’ve also worked with community partners to expand that refrigeration capacity, as necessary.”

Allan said a drive-thru vaccine format will likely be used in addition to working with community partners like hospitals, pharmacies, and other providers to help with vaccine storage and distribution.

Summit County Public Health is preparing sites for vaccine distribution and recognizes they may need the help of volunteers.

“The sites are predominantly known public locations or known private locations we have agreements with schools, churches really we focus on community locations,” said Summit County Public Health Emergency Preparedness Supervisor Chris Barker.

“What we have now is a very generic framework at the state level because the details have not yet come,” said Allan.

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