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Answering your COVID questions: 'Why are some risk groups still ineligible for a vaccine in Ohio?'

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Posted at 7:21 PM, Feb 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-26 21:44:50-05

Why aren’t certain risk groups higher up on Ohio’s phased vaccination timeline?

One viewer wrote to WCPO asking: “Early versions of Governor Dewine's plan included persons who were immuno-compromised or taking immuno-suppressant meds in Stage 1B. Subsequently, they fell off the list and we have been unable to ascertain why or when they'll be eligible. This group is truly in need of upgraded info regarding their turn in line.”

Dr. Steve Feagins, chief clinical officer of Mercy Health and medical director for Hamilton County Public Health, agrees.

“We've been in talks with the Ohio Department of Health and the governor as well," he said. "It's hard to make these kinds of decisions...and I don't disagree that patients who have cancers or chemo -- individuals who are immune compromised -- should be getting vaccines."

Feagins said they take guidance from the governor’s office in terms of who is eligible to receive vaccines.

“However, we continue to talk,” he said. “Some 150 to 160 oncology providers wrote about cancer. I understand we've had about 1,300 different groups write about eligibility of vaccine. It's a tough time to make that decision.”

So did anybody fall off the eligibility list?

“In terms of falling off -- you could look at it that way. NIH had various lists as they were working to try and risk strategize. Go with age, most critical risk factor and congenital illnesses for risk stratification,” Feagins said.

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

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Senior Reporter Larry Seward is focusing his reporting on the COVID-19 vaccine to bring you answers and information. Contact Larry at 513-667-4804 or larry.seward@wcpo.com.