Ohio opens vaccines to some seniors Tuesday, but short on supply

Moderna Vaccine
Posted at 10:08 PM, Jan 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-18 17:07:59-05

CINCINNATI — On Tuesday, vaccinations in Ohio will open to people 80-years-old and older, but while the opportunity may be open, answers on how and where have been nearly as short in supply as the vaccinations themselves.

Counties and departments throughout the Tri-State region have been administering the vaccines at differing rates, and the roll-out has been rife with delays, short supplies and schedules that have booked as fast as they became available.

Options for where to receive the vaccine seem aplenty, but it can be difficult to know whether to go through the city, county or a pharmacy.

Hamilton County alone has 48 different locations for receiving the vaccine, including hospitals, pharmacies and federally qualified health centers. The Hamilton County Health Department, however, is not one of those options. They're only administering the vaccine to people living or working for the county.

For those living in the city of Cincinnati, Norwood, Springdale or other municipalities in the region, officials said they'd prefer people sign up with public health offices in those cities.

For those in any location, CVS, Walgreens and Kroger are an option, but since the Kroger sign-up portal was announced, it's reflected there are no longer any sign-up slots free.

In reality, although the vaccination window opens for some seniors on Tuesday, determining when those vaccines will actually be available is difficult.

"If you're listening to this and you're not over the age of 80, or in a special category of 1a, or a teacher -- that's going to open March 1 -- you're going to be in a line for many weeks," said Mayor John Cranley on Friday.

For now, Governor Mike DeWine's plan is to make more people eligible for vaccinations each week. By Feb. 8, the window should be open to anyone over the age of 65 and K-12 teachers returning to classrooms. With a distribution and supply shortage, however, it's unclear how widely open that window will actually be.

"It's very frustrating right now and I understand that," said Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, professor of infectious diseases at UC and UC Health, and a leader of the Moderna vaccination trials at UC Health. "We want to get out of this mess. We want to get out of this mess yesterday and I understand that. But this is like any other normal human thing: We are just not perfect at doing everything all at once."

Fichtenbaum said he believes it could take two to three months to smooth out the current logistic problems.