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Immunocompromised people worry about end of Ohio COVID-19 health orders

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Posted at 4:09 PM, May 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-17 21:17:16-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced last week that most COVID-19 health orders will be lifted June 2, but questions linger for people who have a weakened immune system or can’t receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Viewer emails sent to WCPO 9 describe lives lived in fear throughout the pandemic. Many of those viewers said they are also worried because CDC vaccine guidance states there is no data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines for people who are immunocompromised.

During a Monday stop at Middletown High School, where he signed a bill boosting broadband service, DeWine addressed some of those fears about the end of the health orders and the vaccine.

"We can make it available to them,” DeWine said of immunocompromised people. “When their doctors say they can take it, we make that available to them. We also continue to recommend that they wear masks when they're out in public facing other people."

He encouraged every person who can get vaccinated to do so, regardless of age.

"We also know that every person who gets vaccinated helps for everyone else,” DeWine said. “We saw something this weekend that was great. We saw 12-year-olds, 13-, 14-, 15-year-olds vaccinated all over the state of Ohio."

Last week the FDA approved emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine for children 12 to 15 years old. DeWine said it’s important for this age group to get vaccinated, even if people think young teens don’t get sick from COVID-19.

“People sometimes say, ‘Well, Mike, that's not important, because they don't get really sick,’” DeWine said “And the answer is some of them do get sick, but also, they're carriers. And so what we now know is that once you're vaccinated, the possibility of you getting it and the possibility of you carrying it goes dramatically down."

Health orders being lifted next month will include Ohio's mask mandate and social distancing rules imposed by the state. Businesses and schools are allowed to make their own determinations about whether masking or social distancing should continue.

Lifting the mandates does not mean the virus is gone or that everyone is safe, DeWine said when he made the announcement May 12. He said this is a transition into Ohioans making their own decisions about wearing a mask, social distancing and how to protect themselves.

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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.