What Ohio’s Vaccine Extension Means for Hamilton County

All Ohioans over the age of 16 can get a COVID-19 vaccination starting March 29, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Tuesday.

Starting Friday, Ohioans 40 and older, as well as those with certain medical conditions, can get the coronavirus vaccine.

People with cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, or obesity are also eligible as of Friday, according to Journal News.

DeWine said rollout has accelerated significantly as the state now has access to more vaccines than before.

“We’re getting more vaccines, we think this will work,” he said. “So, it’s a tension again, to make sure how to make sure there isn’t a vaccine sitting there unused that could save someone’s life and at the same time allow people to get on.”

This week, the Hamilton County Health Department announced it had received 16,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines and is expecting up to 20,000 in the coming weeks.

Even so, Hamilton County’s Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said it will be a few more months before enough vaccines are available for the entire county.

“Right now we have so much demand for vaccines that we have to schedule these appointments so we don’t have long lines and turn people away,” said Kesterman. “But since we’re having more trouble filling appointments, we’ll eventually get to a point where people can show up and get vaccinated.

Kesterman said 50 providers in the county are currently vaccinating people and 50 more are preparing to admit patients. Ohio currently has 1,300 vaccine providers across the state, between pharmacies, clinics, and local health departments.

Those who previously qualified for a vaccine could not make an appointment in advance until the day the eligibility is upgraded. Anyone over 16 years of age can make an appointment on March 29th

One caveat to DeWine’s announcement concerns the impact of the expansion on those who wish to have their 16- and 17-year-old children vaccinated: the FDA has approved the Pfizer vaccine only for those under the age of 18. Neither Moderna nor Johnson & Johnson single-shot vaccine has been approved, so teenagers eligible in late March will have to go to a place where the Pfizer vaccine will be specifically given.

On Wednesday, the Ohio Health Department will open a mass vaccination clinic for residents aged 50 and over at the Cincinnati Cintas Center. DeWine said 15 mass vaccination sites will be open across the state by the end of the month.

If you’re struggling to make an appointment for a vaccine in Ohio, here are some tips to try. Though Ohio is slow to join, there is also a new COVID-19 vaccine tracking website that promises to closely track and report which pharmacies near users have vaccines in stock and ready to be administered.

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