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Dear Friends and Neighbors,
A question frequently posed to me was partially answered today. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine unveiled today a timeline for when the first groups can begin to receive a vaccination, setting dates on when certain individuals can receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. The state's first phase of the vaccine rollout is currently underway. Health care providers, nursing home staff and residents, EMS responders and individuals with intellectual disabilities are in this group. Next in line: A sliding roll out for those over the age of 65, school staff, and individuals with severe inherited or developmental disorders (like sickle cell anemia or Down syndrome). When a new age range opens, that doesn’t mean that vaccinations should and/or will be complete for the previous age range. It will take a number of weeks to distribute all of the vaccine in a group given the limited doses available.
It is still to be announced in the coming days how those individuals will be able to receive their vaccinations. Vaccine availability for “under 65” was not announced. There was reported 10,251 new COVID-19 cases in the state today, bringing the total number of cases to 753,068. Here is the announced roll-out.
Beginning Jan. 19, vaccinations will be available to those who are 80 years of age and older, outside of long-term care, (constituting up to 420,000 people)
Those receiving vaccines will receive them from physicians, local health departments, hospitals, federally-qualified health centers, in-home health service providers as well as some retail pharmacies. The Department of Health has approximately 1,700 providers already registered to distribute vaccinations and will add more.
On Tuesday next week, those who have been selected to deliver vaccinations the first week will be notified and will receive information about their allocation. Some providers may require appointments, some may hold drive-up clinics, or take walk-ins, but it is expected that every provider to clearly state how they will administer vaccinations to eligible individuals.
On Jan. 25, it is anticipated that vaccinations will open up to those 75 years old and older.
On Feb. 1, the vaccination process will open to people 70 and older. Also on Feb. 1, the state will begin to vaccinate school personnel.. The governor said the state will be asking schools to send state officials the number of staff they believe will choose to take the vaccination and indicate if they are already working with partners for vaccine administration.
On Feb. 8, the vaccinations will be available to those 65 and older. Also on this date, vaccinations will be available to those with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset medical disorders.
To date, the COVID-19 vaccine has been started in 221,302 people in Ohio, which is 1.89% of the state's population. The vaccine has been started in 22,081 people in the last 24 hours. The 2 dose vaccine has yet to be completed in any Ohio residents, as the second dose must be administered three or four weeks after the first dose.
This is exciting and encouraging news, but is subject to change, as the dates have already been extended as distribution of vaccine and administering it is slower than necessary. In the meanwhile, the disease continues to escalate in its spread. The number of new cases today is higher than the rolling 21-day average of daily cases, which is 7,471. There were 921 new cases reported in Cuyahoga County today. There have now been 9,462 coronavirus-related deaths across the state; 94 new deaths were reported today, higher than the 21-day average of 75. The median age of patients is 43 with the age range for infected patients from younger than 1 year old to 111 years old.
As we approach a time for vaccination, many ( particularly those under 65), are still months from availability. Please continue to engage safe practices until we get through this. If you have managed to avoid illness so far, now is not the time to let up your safe practices as the spread of disease escalates. Mask, maintain your distances, don’t congregate and keep washing those hands.