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Even with rollout ramping up, newly eligible people might not be able to get vaccinated right away

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Posted at 10:47 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 10:15:32-04

By the end of March, every adult in Ohio, along with 16- and 17-year-olds, will be eligible to receive a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But are local clinics, pharmacies, and health departments ready to meet the growing demand?

Over the next few weeks, the Cintas Center on Xavier University's campus will provide 10,000 first doses and 10,000 second doses. That’s nearly double the capacity of the arena itself. Even with the rollout ramping up, that doesn’t mean newly eligible people will get vaccinated right away.

“Just because you were lucky enough to get an appointment doesn’t mean we’re done vaccinating your age or the age group that came before you,” senior manager of external affairs with The Health Collaborative Christa Hyson said.

She said local agencies still aren’t getting the supplies of vaccine they need to keep up with the demand – that means people will have to be patient if they want to control when and where they get the shot. There are other options available. Some local health departments offer wait lists for doses if some people cancel or are unable to make their appointment times.

“The leftover doses that happen are very small numbers, so we have contact information for people locally and we try to target the highest-risk groups that we’re able to that are able to make it to the health department in a timely manner,” Norwood city health commissioner Brian Williamson said.

Norwood’s health department is able to vaccinate those on its waiting list when it runs a larger-scale clinic.

“I would say, pursue anything you have the possibility and availability to pursue,” Hyson said.

Both said it’s fine to sign up for multiple sites while you wait for an appointment, but be sure to cancel once you secure a spot so someone can take your place.

“I know it’s really exciting to hear things like the eligibility getting wider, the age groups getting wider; however, I don’t want people to forget we’re still vaccinating 80-year-olds, we’re still vaccinating 90-year-olds,” Hyson said.

The Cintas Center vaccination clinic is scheduling appointments through Kroger.

There is a hotline geared toward people age 65 or older without access to technology. Reach it by dialing 211.

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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.