Ohio expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 40+, cancer, obesity; all over age 16 eligible March 29 (2024)

Ohio expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 40 and over, some others

Ohio's eligibility for COVID-19 vaccines willexpandthis week to people 40 and older and those with additional medical conditions, including cancer and obesity, Gov. Mike DeWine announced at a news conference Tuesday morning in Cleveland.

And by the end of the month, all Ohioans 16 and olderwill be eligible to get the vaccine.

Eligibility starts Friday for about 766,000 Ohioans in Phase 1E, which includes those 16 and older with cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease andobesity.

Friday also marks the start of Phase 2C — those 40 and older, including about 818,000 Ohioans between age 40 and 49.

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On March 29,all Ohioans 16 and older will be eligible to get the vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for those 16 and older, while the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are only approved for those 18 and older.

DeWine wasin Clevelandfor the "soft launch" of Ohio's firstfederally coordinated mass COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center.

Dubbed Operation Magnus —after the CSU Viking mascot — the mass vaccination clinic is expected to administer shots to some 210,000 Northeast Ohioans over the next eight weeks.

Ohio and vaccines:Military takes over Cleveland State's Wolstein Center to set up mass COVID-19 vaccination site

The expansion of eligibility, DeWine said, is thanks not only to a steady flow of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines arriving in the state but an anticipated influx of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson variety later this month.

DeWine said Ohioans can anticipate a more robust availability of shots in the coming weeks at the 1,300 providers scattered around the state along with soon to open state-run mass vaccination sites in Akron, Cincinnati, Columbus and other locations (see below).

Ohio expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 40+, cancer, obesity; all over age 16 eligible March 29 (2)

Smaller pop-up temporary vaccination sites will be coming to communities throughout the state once the availability of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine increases, DeWine said.

As of Tuesday, some 2.4 million Ohioans had received at least one dose of a vaccine —covering roughly one-fifth of the state's total population.

DeWine said he visited Tuesday morning with some of the first Ohioans to receive a vaccine administered by medics from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, at the Wolstein Center.

"The reaction was one of relief and happiness," he said. "This is a great day."

Ohio expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 40+, cancer, obesity; all over age 16 eligible March 29 (3)

But DeWine cautioned that while the news on the vaccine front is promising, Ohioans still are contracting the potentially deadly virus.

"The virus is still very, very much out there," he said. "This is a race."

And that's why mass clinics like the one in Cleveland that opened in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency are critical.

It is the first such site in the state and all the vaccines distributed are in addition to the state's usual allotment from the federal government.

Kevin M. Sligh,FEMA deputy regional administrator, said the location was selected because of its proximity to underserved populations who might otherwise struggle to find access to the vaccine.

Ohio expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 40+, cancer, obesity; all over age 16 eligible March 29 (4)

Working with community groups, Sligh said, some of the vaccines and appointment timeshave been set aside to ensure an equitable distribution for those who may not have access to the technology to make an appointment or the means to get to the arena.

Special, free bus shuttles have been set up, along with ample free parking around the Wolstein Center.

Sligh said he knows firsthand the dangers of the virus as a number of his close family members, including his mother and grandmother, both contracted the coronavirus.

They all survived, but Sligh said he knows other families have not been so lucky.

"This is a No. 1 priority for people of color and all Ohioans," he said.

DeWine said he believes Ohio is finally at a turning point and everyone can do his or her part by continuing to social distance, wearing a mask and signing up to get the vaccine.

"This is a lifesaver," he said. "This enables you to live your life and get your life back."

Who can currently get the shot in Ohio?

Ohioans 50 and older, as well as others based on health conditions and occupations, are currently eligible for vaccinations at the mass clinics and pharmacies statewide. To sign up for the mass clinics as well as pharmacy sites, go togettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.govor call 1-833-427-5634.

More:COVID-19 in Ohio: DeWine lowers vaccine age to 50+, declares day of remembrance

Mass vaccination clinic staffed by National Guard, Army troops

DeWine was at the clinic Tuesday morning with FEMA Region 5 Acting Administrator Kevin Sligh, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and Cleveland State University President Harlan Sands.

The super vaccination center at Cleveland State University's Wolstein Center is the largest of its kind coordinated by the federal government and is being staffedby a combination ofOhio National Guard and Army troops.

It will vaccinate 1,500 on the first day and then rampup vaccinations by another 1,500 each of the ensuing days until it reaches its capacity of 6,000.

The initial smaller number of vaccinationswill allow the 200 Ohio guardsmen and 217 medical personnel from the 101stAirborne out of Fort Campbell Kentucky to work out any logistical issues.

Moremass vaccination sites coming soon across Ohio

The state also is planning to host other mass vaccination clinics across Ohio. DeWine has said they're expected to open by the end of this month.

Those sites include:

• Chapel Hill Mall,2000 Brittain Road, Akron (Summit County Public Health)

• Knights of Columbus, 810 S. Cable Road, Lima (Allen County Public Health)

• Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St., Maumee (Lucas County Public Health)

• Dayton Convention Center, 22 E. Fifth St., Dayton (Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County)

• Celeste Center, 717 E.17th Ave., Columbus (Columbus Public Health)

• Cintas Center at Xavier University,1624 Herald Ave., Cincinnati (Kroger, Cincinnati Health Department, Hamilton County Public Health and The Health Collaborative)

• Adena PACCAR Medical Education Center, 446 Hospital Road, Chillicothe (Adena Health System)

• Marietta Memorial Hospital, 401 Matthew St., Marietta (Marietta Memorial Hospital)

• Colony Square Mall (Elder Beerman), 3575 Maple Ave., Zanesville (Genesis Health)

• Wilmington Air Park, 1113 Airport Road, Wilmington (Kroger)

Craig Webb, who will get the vaccine on Friday, can be reached at cwebb@thebeaconjournal.com. Emily Mills contributed to this report.

Ohio expands COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to 40+, cancer, obesity; all over age 16 eligible March 29 (2024)
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