More than half of Ohio remains unvaccinated: what health leaders think will come next


DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN)– President Joe Biden wanted 70-percent of Americans to be vaccinated by the 4th of July. But, we didn’t quite make it. Data shows Governor Mike DeWine’s Vax-a-million lottery encouraged around 3-percent of eligible Ohioans to get vaccinated. Days after the country missed Biden’s goal, health leaders are speculating on what should come next.

“Something that people need to understand is COVID hasn’t gone away,” said MVH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roberto Colon. “We have done a very nice job to help contain it better but it’s still very much present and can flare up and get into a situation that can spiral out of control once again.”

With more than half of Ohio unvaccinated after July 4th weekend, health leaders say catching the virus is still a realistic risk. Public Health says their goal to get more Ohioans vaccinated is to break down barriers.

“Whether that’s a language barrier, we’re doing some things with the hispanic community or a transportation barrier, we’re using the RTA and mobile set up to go to other locations,” said PIO Dan Suffoletto.

Other health leaders say there could be residents trying to balance mental health needs and are suffering from anxiety around deciding whether to get vaccinated.

“I think the biggest one is catching an understanding of the vaccinations, I always push the J&J just because it’s one shot and you’re done,” said Atrium Medical Center Behavioral Health Medical Director Dr. Jonathan Lazzara. ‘It’s your body and your decision, but if that decision is causing you so much anxiety and you can’t function or are not able to go out and do things, you have to take that into consideration.”

Recently, Governor DeWine mentioned he is planning future incentive programs to encourage Ohioans to get vaccinated.

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