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Ben Asks a Question: Are residents of congregate-setting senior homes included in phase 1A of vaccinations?

Posted at 5:01 PM, Dec 30, 2020

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans living in congregate-setting senior homes are included in the state’s first phase of COVID-19 vaccinations, according to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.

DeWine clarified the state’s guidance during his Wednesday COVID-19 press briefing -- where I asked a question sent to me on Twitter by WCPO viewer Susan Vincent. She asked if residents in congregate-setting senior homes, which aren’t classified as nursing homes, are to be included in phase 1-A of vaccinations.

Ben Asks a Question is a feature we started as a way to help give you a voice during Gov. Mike DeWine's daily press briefings. Since then, Ben has gotten hundreds of questions a day. If you'd like to ask a question, find us on Facebook and feel free to message us there, or send us an email at

“[Congregate-setting senior homes] are included in 1-A,” said DeWine. “The decision was made that we start with the nursing homes, because, generally, they have a more fragile population. But the four pharmacy companies that we’ve had this relationship with … they’re taking many of these other congregate-care settings. So what your listener is referring to is included in 1-A, and they should be; they will get to them after they do the nursing home.”

The state is relying on four pharmacy companies to distribute the vaccine to nursing homes and congregate-setting senior homes: Walgreens, CVS, PharmScript and Absolute Pharmacy. However, according to DeWine, facilities will have the opportunity to vaccinate their residents regardless of their relationship with said companies.

“Now, some of those congregate-care settings who might not have set up with one of these four pharmacy companies, they, in turn, would be done by the local health department. But, again, it would still be in 1-A,” said DeWine.

Currently, in Ohio, just more than 94,000 people have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The state hopes to receive more than 500,000 initial doses before the end of 2020.