Answering your COVID questions: When can essential workers get a COVID-19 shot?

Grocery Worker's Relief Fund established to provide aid to front-line workers
Posted at 7:45 PM, Feb 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-12 19:45:44-05

Many Ohioans are still waiting their turn for a COVID-19 vaccine for their age group and occupation.

WCPO Viewer Kim Taulbee asks: “I'm a grocery store worker and have been working ever since the pandemic started. When will we get vaccinated? Because we have customers coming in sick, getting tested and we don't feel safe. Are we going to have to wait for our age group? I feel we should be next after seniors.”

Dr. Steve Feagins with Hamilton County Public Health and Mercy Health said there simply isn’t guidance yet on when essential workers like Kim can get in line for a vaccine.

“I absolutely feel for Kim. You are totally a frontline worker. We don't have any guidance yet. Those decisions haven't been made in terms of occupation,” he said.

The timeline for when guidance opens up for other essential workers could come as soon as vaccine supply meets demand.

“That would be the expectation. When we are finally able to match supply and demand and open it up, even with new potential vaccines on the horizon, we simply don't know the numbers. We take what we have and apply to risk stratification we have and open it up when we can. But I absolutely understand because that is a frontline job."

That "risk stratification” means vaccinating those most at risk first. For now, that includes nursing home residents, frontline medical workers and older Ohioans.

Find more information on Ohio’s vaccine rollout here.

This month, WCPO 9 is taking your questions about COVID-19 vaccines and posing them to local health care experts. Email or message @KristynHartmanWCPO on Facebook with your name, neighborhood and question, and you could see an expert answer it on air.