Late last month, health care workers and paramedics started getting the shots, but we investigated what’s happening with all of the doses sent to public health agencies.
The Cuyahoga Board of Health said it received 4000 doses, but only 1,800 have been given to people.
The city of Columbus told us it received 6,400 doses, but only about 2,400 have been administered.
We continue to get silence from the Cleveland mayor’s office. Last week, we asked for a breakdown of shots given and vaccines unused. City hall said it wasn’t ready yet to give accurate information. Days later, still no response. The I-Team even filed a formal records request. Nothing.
Meantime, Cleveland police wonder how much longer they’ll have to wait for the COVID-19 vaccine. Some weeks, 150 Cleveland officers can’t go to work because of COVID. Yet, police wait their turn for the vaccine while worrying about COVID with only a fraction of the doses given out.
“We’ve gotta keep maintaining our jobs. We gotta come to work every day and we’re dealing with all sorts of people. We can’t be waiting to get sick and get time off,” said Jeff Follmer, Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association president.
For days, we’ve been checking with the Ohio Department of Health about this. The state did not address some of our specific questions, but a spokesperson wrote in an e-mail, “Approved COVID-19 vaccine providers have agreed to report to the state health department information about the doses administered, discarded, and returned. At this point, ODH has not received reports of discarded or returned vaccine.”
Last week, we also went to the site in Cleveland where the health department was giving shots to paramedics. We were turned away before we could ask a question. And, hours later, city hall sent out a news release saying the vaccination sites were off-limits to reporters.
“Someone in the governor’s office, they need to rethink these police officers across the state in getting these right away,” the police union aid.
The state of Ohio is determining which groups are eligible for the vaccine and when. Police officers have not been included in the first sets of people eligible.
While many questions are swirling around the process, there’s no question, a startling number of doses of the vaccine available have not been given out.
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