Ohio expands vaccine eligibility as more doses ship to state

Ages 60+ become eligible starting Thursday
Published: Mar. 1, 2021 at 10:41 PM EST
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COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVG) - Hundreds of thousands of more Ohioans can get COVID-19 vaccines soon as the state is set to get its largest weekly shipments of the shots.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday the state is lowering the minimum eligible age to get a vaccine to 60. He also announced people with certain jobs and medical conditions are eligible. They include Type 1 diabetics, pregnant women, bone marrow transplant recipients, people with ALS, people working in childcare or funeral services, law enforcement, and corrections officers.

The new expansion goes into effect Thursday, nearly one month after the state lowered the eligible age from 70 to 65.

“What we intend to do after 60 is to go to 55 then 50. Whether we add more occupations, we haven’t decided. Age will continue to be the key indicator.”

He said leaders want to make sure the new influx of doses doesn’t go to waste.

“To let it sit and be slow in getting it out simply means there are lives out there that could be saved, and those lives are not being saved, not being protected, because we would be slow in the uptake,” DeWine said.

Ohio is set to receive more than 96 thousand of the newly-approved Johnson & Johnson single-shot doses this week. Combined with first-doses of Pfizer and Moderna’s vaccines, Ohio expects nearly 450 thousand doses for this first week of March.

Governor DeWine says many of the new Johnson and Johnson vaccines will go to around 200 independent pharmacies that haven’t received any yet.

The list of providers in the state distributing the vaccines has grown to more than 1,200 now, up 500 since the vaccination effort began.

More than 1.6 million Ohioans received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Monday afternoon, according to the Ohio Department of Health. 912,354 people are fully vaccinated now, accounting for nearly 8% of the state’s population.

“At the end of the day, we have 3 vaccines, all of which will keep you out of the hospital, out of the ICU, and out of the morgue,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer for the Ohio Department of Health.

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