Who should be next in line for the vaccine?

Gov. Mike DeWine was in Columbus Friday morning as Ohio's first nursing home resident received the coronavirus vaccination. Photo courtesy Gov. Mike DeWine's Office

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Gov. Mike DeWine was in Columbus Friday morning as Ohio's first nursing home resident received the coronavirus vaccination. Photo courtesy Gov. Mike DeWine's Office

Ohio should make saving lives the paramount goal for how the state prioritizes who will be next in line for coronavirus vaccinations, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday.

“At the beginning at least, the vaccine is a scarce resource, and we have to deploy that in a strategically smart way as we can to save lives and to save the most lives that we can,” DeWine said.

A federal advisory panel at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that the second phase of people to be vaccinated include those over age 75 and front-line essential workers such as teachers, bus drivers and police officers.

DeWine said Ohio is considering that recommendation but noted that it includes a large pool of people. He said the state will give guidance on vaccine priority groups as soon as possible.

DeWine said he hopes more vaccines will become available as time goes by so that more Ohioans will be inoculated.

The first round of vaccines are going into the arms of front-line health care workers and nursing home residents and staff. More than 6,700 people in Ohio have received the first of two coronavirus shots as of Sunday.

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The Ohio Department of Health on Monday reported 6,548 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours and 75 more deaths. Ohio’s total case count now stands at 629,354, including 8,122 deaths, since the pandemic began early this year.

Citing travel data from the New York Times, DeWine said Ohioans cut their Thanksgiving travel by 60% to 70% this year compared with last year. He cautioned that Ohioans need to stay home, wear masks and socially distance over the Christmas and New Year holiday season.

“We just ask Ohioans — one more time, step up,” he said.

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DeWine said it’d be smart for schools to delay the return of students to classrooms by a week, following the holiday season. “Buying another week is something I think schools should look at. It certainly makes sense. There are different ways of doing that,” he said.