CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – In an interview with 2 NEWS Friday, Gov. Mike DeWine said he welcomes President-Elect Joe Biden’s plan to release nearly all available doses of the coronavirus vaccine.
Under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed, officials are saving half the vaccine supply to be used as second doses.
“We’re still going to have to calculate how to hold that back,” DeWine said. “But it will enable us, we believe, to get more out earlier than we were planning.”
Gov. DeWine told 2 NEWS he feels “optimistic” about the new year but admits several challenges lie ahead.
“We look at 2021 in Ohio as our year of recovery, not just to push back this virus but also to get our economy really moving forward,” he said.
Gov. DeWine told 2 NEWS one of his biggest priorities this year is to get students back in school. Despite the limited number of coronavirus vaccine doses currently available, he wants every school staff member to be able to get vaccinated for the first time by March 1.
“This is difficult,” DeWine said. “We’ve set a couple goals. One is save lives, which means we’re vaccinating right now our people in nursing homes.”
DeWine said although he’s pleased with the progress made on getting the vaccine to nursing homes, the number of people in those facilities willing to receive it isn’t enough – roughly 80 percent of residents and 40 percent of staff.
“Let’s say a 35-year-old, 40-year-old who’s working in a nursing home, this may be your only chance for months to get this vaccine,” DeWine said. “So when they come around the second time, which we’re starting to do with some nursing homes, please use that as an opportunity.”
Group 1B vaccinations are set to begin January 19, according to DeWine.
Gov. DeWine said he plans to announce where vaccinations will be offered for that group by the middle of next week.