Ohio expecting first COVID-19 vaccine doses in mid-December
The governor’s office announced last week that the state has designated a number of hospitals to act as pre-positioning sites.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - The light at the end of the tunnel is getting a little bit brighter. Gov. DeWine announced Tuesday that Ohio health officials expect the first doses of a coronavirus vaccine to arrive in the state on or near December 15. So far three different vaccines for the virus that causes COVID-19 have been announced by pharmaceutical companies. They now await emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration which will allow the companies to distribute the vaccines to states.
Early shipments of those vaccines will be limited, however, and the governor and Ohio health officials have already outlined early plans to distributed it first to vulnerable populations including the elderly and frontline health workers who come into frequent contact with infected patients. Other groups would need to wait for future vaccine shipments before they will be able to receive it.
As for how those doses will be distributed statewide, the governor’s office announced last week that the state has designated a number of hospitals to act as pre-positioning sites, including Mercy Health-St. Vincent’s Medical Center here in Northwest Ohio. Those locations were selected based on a number of criteria, including population and access to ultracold storage facilities which are needed to properly store the Pfizer version of the vaccine. Other locations are predicted to following quickly after the first doses are delivered to the pre-positioning locations.
Until then, the governor stressed that Ohioans will need to step up efforts to contain the spread of the virus, which has exploded across the country in recent weeks. Cases in Ohio rose by more than 8,000 on Tuesday with nearly 100 reported fatalities and 364 new hospitalizations. Case rates in the state have been increasing at an alarming rate throughout the month of November. On Monday, hospital administrators warned of the potential for catastrophe if the number of cases, and therefore hospitalizations, continues to rise at the current rate. All four in attendance agreed that hospital systems would face critical staffing shortages and potential equipment shortages if Ohio citizens did not curb the spread.
“We can’t sound the alarm bell loud enough to the people of Ohio to change their behavior,” warned Dr. Andrew Thomas of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
To stop that spread, the governor and health officials have been urging Ohioans to stay home during the Thanksgiving holiday this week and to reconsider other holiday plans that might bring them into large groups with people they have not interacted with over the course of the pandemic. The governor also asked schools to suspend crowds at any winter sporting events that had not already been canceled in an effort to cut down on the number of people inside school gyms.
Copyright 2020 WTVG. All rights reserved.