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DeWine: Ohio vaccine eligibility will pause at over-65 age group 'for a number of weeks'

Moderna Vaccine
Posted at 1:52 PM, Feb 02, 2021

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine expects his state’s vaccination criteria to hold, rather than expand, for “a number of weeks” after the final scheduled expansion in mid-February. Speaking Tuesday afternoon, DeWine stressed the need for time to vaccinate Ohio’s highest priority populations — seniors, people with severe pre-existing health conditions, frontline health care workers and K-12 educators — given the administration’s limited supply of vaccine doses.

DeWine spoke hours after receiving his own first dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine. He, first lady Fran DeWine and all Ohioans between the ages of 70 and 75 became eligible for the shot on Monday.

On Feb. 8, Ohioans between the ages of 65 and 70 will become eligible, too. That’s the last age-based expansion the state has announced; the only addition after that, on Feb. 15, covers people with health conditions such as Down syndrome, severe heart disease and epilepsy.

But by that date, more than two million Ohioans will have the right to receive the vaccine. Actually getting it to all of them will take all of February.

TIMELINE: When Ohioans can get the COVID-19 vaccine

About 89% of nursing homes, which were included in the very first phase of the rollout, have received a second visit from vaccine providers, giving residents an opportunity to get their second, final dose of vaccine (if they had accepted it before) or get their first (if they had rejected it on the first visit).

Assisted living facilities are slightly behind: 86% have gotten one visit, and 48% have gotten two.

All K-12 educators, who are key to DeWine’s goal of a return to in-person learning by March 1, are scheduled to get their first shots within the month. They’ll continue receiving second doses into March, after their schools have reopened.

“We can’t vaccinate every teacher on the first day or even the first week,” DeWine said. “We have limited supply, and we want to continue, at the same time, to vaccinate our older Ohioans.”

Five nursing homes need some ‘revaccination’

DeWine disclosed that five nursing homes in the northeast Ohio region had some patients who received a spoiled dose of the COVID-19 vaccine during a Monday visit from Walgreens vaccine providers.

The affected locations were:

  • Ashtabula Co Residential Services Corp "The Maples" in Kingsville;
  • Ashtabula Towers in Ashtabula;
  • Heather Hill Care Communities in Chardon;
  • Six Chimneys on East Cleveland;
  • Willow Park Convalescent Home in Cleveland

The doses were all part of the same batch that had been briefly stored at the wrong temperature, negating its ability to fight COVID-19, DeWine said. Walgreens reported the news to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and plans to identify and revaccinate the affected patients.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer for the Ohio Department of Health, said the ineffective doses were not dangerous to the recipients.

“This is really an issue about taking every step that we can to ensure that, whenever a person gets a vaccine, they’re getting a vaccine that will work,” he said. “This is not an issue, though, of any known harm being done.”

By the numbers

The Ohio Department of Health reported another below-average day of new cases — 3,657 were newly recorded overnight.

Deaths, hospitalizations and ICU admissions, all “lagging indicators” that represent the long-term effects of past high-contagion weeks, remained high.

ODH recorded 106 new deaths, 221 new hospitalizations and 21 patients newly admitted to intensive care between Monday and Tuesday.