Coronavirus: Ohio to expand vaccinations Thursday, next group announced

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

With Ohio set to receive its largest shipment of vaccines this week, Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday announced the next phase of vaccination eligibility in the state.

Ohioans ages 60 and older, those working in childcare or funeral services and law enforcement and corrections officers will be eligible under the next phases of vaccination, as well as people with type 1 diabetes, pregnant people, bone marrow transplant recipients and people with ALS.

They will be eligible to start receiving the vaccine Thursday. Approximately 941,000 people in Ohio will be eligible to vaccinated under the next phases.

DeWine noted that as of Monday, multiple vaccine providers across the state still had vaccine appointments available. The open vaccine clinics and larger shipment coming to Ohio were part of the state’s reason to expand vaccinations this week. He added that additional information will come in the next few weeks about more vaccine providers and mass vaccination sites.

Ohio is scheduled to receive 448,390 doses in the next few days, the most the state has ever received in a week. Of those vaccines, 96,100 are from Johnson & Johnson, which was approved for use over the weekend. Unlike the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine, Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine is one dose, not two.

The Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be shipped to independent pharmacies, health departments and hospitals, DeWine said.

When asked if Ohioans should prefer one vaccine over another, Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff said that all three vaccines prevent hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19.

“At the end of the day we have three vaccines, all of which will keep you out of the hospital, out of the ICU and out of the morgue,” he said.

Though the vaccines are effective, none of them are 100%, Vanderhoff said. People who have been vaccinated should not put away their masks until the state can build up herd immunity.

Ohio vaccinated 200,000 K-12 school staff in the last month as part of DeWine’s effort to return students to in-person learning.

School districts that pledged to return to in-person learning by March 1 were eligible to receive the vaccine under Phase 1B.

While not every school district made the governor’s deadline, DeWine said he is happy with the state’s progress.

In January, nearly 50% of the state’s schools weren’t offering any form of in-person learning, he said. As of Monday, it’s less than 10%. Of the eight school districts that are not offering in-person learning as of Monday, seven are scheduled to return to in-person instruction in the coming weeks.

As of Monday, 1,687,834 people in Ohio have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 912,354 have completed their vaccination.

Fewer than 2,000 cases of coronavirus were reported in Ohio for the fourth consecutive day Monday, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The state recorded 1,452 daily cases, the second fewest number of cases reported this year in Ohio. Sunday marked the fewest number of daily cases at 1,268. In the last week, Ohio has exceeded 2,000 daily cases twice.

Over the last three weeks, Ohio has reported an average of 2,225 cases a day.

The state added 103 hospitalizations on Monday, bringing its total to 50,382. ICU admissions increased by 14 for a total of 7,148.

Ohio reported 49 deaths Monday. The state has recorded 17,346 deaths throughout the pandemic.

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