Starting today, colleges and universities throughout Ohio will begin offering COVID-19 vaccines to students as part of the state's plan. Governor DeWine said he hopes offering the shots to students will give them the opportunity to become vaccinated before traveling home for the summer.
All Ohio adults -- and teens over the age of 16 -- are now eligible to sign up for vaccine appointments, but on Thursday DeWine announced he plans to specifically work with colleges and universities to get students access to shots more quickly, before the end of the semester.
"I was relieved and excited, because I really want the vaccination so I can go on my school-led trip this summer," said Abby Diehl, a Xavier University freshman.
DeWine said the state's first priority remains vaccinating those most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, but that vaccinating as many people as quickly as possible is also important to the state's overall response to the pandemic.
"It is a strategic move, frankly, to vaccinate them on campus before they get out in early May for the summer and scatter throughout the state," said DeWine.
He pointed to data from the CDC and gathered by the state that reflects that although younger people are less likely to fall ill from COVID-19, they are significant carriers of the virus.
Diehl said she's just hoping the vaccine can bring her a sense of normalcy going forward.
"It's important for our education," she said. "We can't really learn the best. Zoom can only do so much. I'm really excited for in-person classes so I can start developing a better relationship with my fellow students and my professors."