Ohio hospitals should finish vaccinating their staff by midnight Sunday, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday afternoon. Starting Monday, they’ll have a new job: Helping vaccinate hundreds of thousands of Ohio seniors against COVID-19.
About 2.2 million Ohioans will become eligible to receive their first dose of the vaccine in January and early February. People over the age of 80 qualify first, starting Jan. 19.
Eligibility will expand by five years every subsequent week until all Ohioans above the age of 65 — a group especially vulnerable to serious COVID-19 complications and death — are allowed to get the shot.
“We really need to move,” DeWine said. “We need to move to this age group.”
However quickly that move happens, its speed will be throttled by the state’s limited supply of vaccine. DeWine expects Ohio to receive 100,000 doses of vaccine per week for the next several weeks. The over-80 group alone comprises more than 400,000 people.
“We know that will, in fact, take a while, but we want to get the vaccine as quickly and efficiently in people’s arms as we can,” DeWine said.
About 800 health care providers throughout the state will be administering vaccines starting Jan. 19, he added; they'll identify themselves Wednesday and Thursday so prospective patients can begin making plans.
DeWine promised all of these providers would be listed online at this link by Thursday. Vaccine-seekers will be able to find a provider near them by searching their ZIP code or county.
How the vaccine is delivered — by walk-up or by appointment — will be up to the provider’s discretion, the governor said.
The probability that any given provider will have left-over vaccine for people outside the eligible age range is small. Because of the state’s limited supply, each individual provider is likely to receive just a few hundred doses each week.
Who else is eligible?
DeWine announced Tuesday that, in addition to people 65 and up, “phase 1B” of Ohio’s vaccine rollout will include adults with “severe congenital, developmental or early-onset disorders” starting Jan. 25.
He did not clarify which specific health conditions met the state’s criteria for vaccination but promised more information soon.
K-12 education workers are also part of phase 1B, but only under specific circumstances. Teachers and staff at K-12 schools will become eligible to get the vaccine starting Feb. 1 as long as their district has committed to resuming in-person or hybrid learning by March 1.
By the numbers
About 321,516 Ohioans have already received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, DeWine said. All of them were “phase 1A” candidates: health care workers, nursing home staff members and people who live in nursing homes.
Eighty-five percent of nursing homes in the state had gotten a visit from a vaccine provider by Tuesday. Vaccination is still opt-in, with a far higher rate of acceptance from residents than staff.
The Ohio Department of Health recorded 7,981 new cases of COVID-19 and 100 new deaths on Tuesday. Forty-nine Ohioans were newly admitted to intensive care; 486 were hospitalized.