OHIO VALLEY — Governors Mike DeWine and Jim Justice this week announced expanded vaccine eligibility in their respective states.
While in Cleveland this week, DeWine announced in Ohio, phases 1E and 2C begin on March 19. Phase 1E includes those with cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and obesity. Phase 2C extends eligibility to Ohioans who are 40 and older. Between these two eligible groups, 1.6 million more Ohioans will have access to the vaccine.
Beginning on March 29, eligibility will be expanded to all Ohioans ages 16 and older. FDA emergency use authorization only allows those ages 16 and 17 to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
On Monday, Justice stated West Virginians aged 16 and older with underlying medical conditions are now eligible for a coronavirus vaccine, along with all essential workers of any age.
The list of eligible conditions include asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, intellectual disabilities, autoimmune disorders and more. Pregnant residents are also eligible and the caretakers of those with some diseases. All residents 50 and over have already been eligible for a vaccine.
Justice has urged mask-wearing, as a statewide mandate remains in effect, even as capacity limits on businesses have been lifted.
DeWine and representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and Cleveland State University (CSU) on Tuesday welcomed the first members of the general public to be vaccinated at Ohio’s mass vaccination clinic at CSU’s Wolstein Center in Cleveland.
The eight-week mass vaccination clinic is vaccinating approximately 1,500 Ohioans Tuesday and will ultimately bring vaccine doses to 210,000 people in Ohio. Similar to mass vaccination sites in other states, the site will incrementally increase the number of vaccines administered, and up to 6,000 doses per day are expected to be available by next week.
The Wolstein Center location was recommended by Ohio and selected by FEMA based on its proximity to a large number of Ohio’s high-risk citizens and medically underserved populations. To ensure equitable access to the vaccine for underserved and socially vulnerable populations, more than 300 local community groups are partnering with the state to help schedule appointments for those who face vaccination barriers. Translators will be on-site to assist those who speak other languages, and free transportation is available for those who need help getting to and from the clinic.
“This is an example of Ohio at its finest – citizens coming together to help ensure that all Ohioans, no matter where they live, have access to the vaccine,” said Governor DeWine. “Today is a monumental day. With every shot, Ohio is moving closer to recovery.”
To book an appointment at the Wolstein Center Mass Vaccination Clinic or to find appointment information on the more than 1,300 local providers offering the vaccine statewide, visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. Ohioans can also schedule mass vaccination clinic appointments by calling 1-833-4-ASK-ODH (1-833-427-5634).
The state of Ohio is also offering two pop-up mass vaccination clinics in Columbus and Cincinnati beginning on March 18, and 15 long-term mass vaccination clinics will open regionally across Ohio in coming weeks.
For more information about Ohio’s vaccination plan, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.
In Meigs and Gallia Counties, vaccines are available at Fruth Pharmacy, Hopewell Health Centers, Swisher & Lohse Pharmacy, Rite Aid, Holzer Health System Gallipolis, and the local health departments. Contact each location regarding appointment availability or visit gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov.
There are a few options for those in West Virginia who wish to register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. West Virginia has established a vaccine scheduling website at www.vaccinate.wv.gov or you can also call the West Virginia Vaccine Info Line at 1-833-734-0965. The info line is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Locally, Mason County has set up a centralized vaccine location in the former Goodwill store on Third Street in Point Pleasant but an appointment made through the state is required.
Some information for this article provided by the office of Gov. Mike DeWine and the Associated Press.