Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine discussed a pandemic change that could affect residents as early as this month. Booster shots could begin for some groups as early as Sept. 20.
“We are getting ready. We’ve been working on this. We will want to be able to continue to get people vaccinated,” DeWine said. “We think we can do two things at once.”
An advisory committee at The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is set to discuss booster shots Sept. 17.
Chief Clinical Officer of Mercy Health Dr. Stephen Feagins said it’s is possible that the agency won’t authorize it by the Sept. 20 goal because the focus remains on the unvaccinated public.
“The more that we can vaccinate in the community, one, the less mutation, the less spread, and, ultimately, the less that we’re going to see of that virus,” Feagins said.
Third doses are available now to those with weakened immune systems. The term "booster"applies to those who have sufficient immunity with two doses. For information about when people will be eligible for a booster shot, the CDC's website has more information.
DeWine spoke to nursing students at Southern State College in Hillsboro, Ohio about the program there. He also spoke to college leaders about receiving a $149,000 grant for security measures. He said the booster conversation is a relevant topic for the area.
“Here in Highland County, it’s one of the top counties in the state as far as the spread" he said. "It’s very relevant here, but, frankly, it’s very relevant across the state because the transmission rate is high everywhere.”
According to The Ohio Department of Health, Highland County has the second highest case rate in the state: 1,392.5 per 100,000 people.
More than 30% of people in Highland County are fully vaccinated as of Wednesday, according to the state.
A big focus, according to the governor, is on school mask policies.
“If you want your kids in school, get them vaccinated,” said Gov. DeWine. “If they can’t be vaccinated, you know, have them wear a mask, and that's how we keep our kids in school."