Ohioans 16 and older now eligible for COVID vaccine

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine (right) look on as Barry Gertner, 54, gets a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Piqua on Saturday, March 27, 2021. EILEEN McCLORY / STAFF
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio First Lady Fran DeWine (right) look on as Barry Gertner, 54, gets a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic in Piqua on Saturday, March 27, 2021. EILEEN McCLORY / STAFF

All Ohioans 16 and older are now eligible to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

While Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health allowed some vaccine providers with appointments available last week to open them up to people 16 and older, this is the first week the state’s eligibility is open to the age group.

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Pfizer is the only vaccine in the U.S. authorized for ages 16 and older. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson were authorized for those 18 and older.

With vaccine clinics open to ages 16 and older, Ohio has met President Joe Biden’s plan to have all adults in the country eligible for the vaccine by May 1.

More than 3.2 million people in Ohio as of Sunday have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 1.85 million have finished their vaccination, according to the state health department.

To register for a vaccine appointment, visit https://gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov/.

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While Monday marks another step in Ohio’s battle against COVID, DeWine and health officials are reminding residents that the fight isn’t over.

The state is racing to vaccinate as many people as possible as the number of variant cases increases.

“As the number of these variants grow they really underscore how important it is for all of us to be vaccinated,” ODH Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff said last week. “States all around us are seeing an upswing in cases and we continue to see more variant activity.”

Ohio has reported 278 variant cases as of Sunday, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, including 275 B.1.1.7 variant cases.

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The B.1.1.7 variant is believed to be more contagious and have a higher risk of hospitalization or death and is listed as a CDC variant of concern.

With the state still working to build herd immunity and administer vaccines, Ohioans should continue to wear face masks, follow social distancing guidelines and wash their hands frequently.

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