CINCINNATI – Jill Threm felt like she won the lottery on Thursday.
At this point, she and other Ohioans 50 and over could register for a COVID-19 vaccination. She was lucky and was able to secure an appointment quickly despite fierce competition for the limited offer.
“I’m still shaking because I was so excited,” she told WCPO.
However, the spots fill up quickly, especially on a day when an estimated 1.4 million more Ohioans were eligible for the vaccine, bringing the total number of people who can register nationwide to about 2.2 million.
In addition to people over 50, Governor Mike DeWine has ordered a number of other key workers and high-risk populations to register for an appointment. The state launched an online tool this week to see if a person is eligible.
According to epidemiologist Stephanie Courtney of the Cincinnati Health Department, Ohio distributes approximately 500,000 doses of vaccine each week to private and public health clinics and pharmacies across the state.
She said it was likely too late to get an appointment this week, but the Ohio Department of Health plans to give about 10,000 doses at the Cintas Center later in the next week.
The new tier of eligibility added about 2.2 million Ohioans to the list, Courtney said, and each provider can have their own specific criteria.
“Some will vaccinate people who live anywhere in the state of Ohio; others will vaccinate anyone who works in Ohio, even if they live outside of the state,” Courtney said.
The Cincinnati Health Department limited its distribution to people who lived or worked in the city, but relaxed that rule Thursday to include anyone living or working in Hamilton County.
The Cincinnati Health Department uses the Armor Vaxx app, which enables eligible district workers and residents to register and receive notification when appointments are open near you.
The app also notifies users if a pop-up vaccination point is displayed that day.
Apple users can download the app here. Android users can go here.
Courtney added that other counties across Ohio will lend a hand while the patient lives in the state.
Courtney recommends doing the following when trying to book an appointment:
- Call your doctor or pharmacy directly to see if appointments are available
- Register through Kroger
- Register with your local or regional health department
Courtney also gave an inside tip for people in Hamilton County: Every Wednesday the Cincinnati Health Department finds out how many doses the state will get it. She said that means there are usually more appointments open on these days.
The Cincinnati Health Department can be reached by phone at 513-352-2927.