COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In an effort to outrun the virus, Ohio will begin to ramp up vaccination numbers by meeting people where they are: college campuses, workplaces and churches.
Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced Thursday vaccination efforts that will go directly to college campuses and allow employers to conduct their own clinics to give COVID-19 shots.
Beginning next week, college campuses in Ohio will begin offering vaccinations to students before they break for the summer by May 1, DeWine said.
“I think young people understand that they can be spreaders. I think they want to go see their grandmother, they want to go see family and friends, and getting vaccinated is something that I think you’re going to see a lot of young people do,” DeWine said during his briefing.
Similarly, businesses will be allowed to open up private clinics beginning April 12 to vaccinate their staff. The move is a reversal of policy by DeWine, who had told health care providers earlier this week to stop scheduling clinics that aren’t open to the public.
“Every single day we make it harder for the virus to jump from one person to another, but it is a race, and this variant is pushing things off because it is so much more contagious,” DeWine said. “We are in a battle, but we’ve got a pretty big cannon, and that cannon is the vaccine, and we just need to keep deploying it every single day, and we will wear this virus down.”
The number of cases per 100,000 rose for the second time in two weeks, bad news for DeWine’s pledge to end statewide orders — including the mask mandate — when the figure hits 50 per 100,000. The number was 167. cases per 100,000 on Thursday, up from 146 per 100,000 last week.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio has risen over the past two weeks from about 1,456 new cases per day on March 16 to around 1,842 new cases per day on March 30, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided by The COVID Tracking Project.
As of Thursday, about 3.5 million people in Ohio have received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the state Health Department, or about 30% of the population. The state says about 2 million people, or 17% of the population, have completed the vaccination process.
Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.