CEDARVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — Governor Mike DeWine provided an update on the state’s next phase of vaccinations, which is scheduled to begin Jan. 19 and includes the elderly and adults working for K – 12 schools.
Phase 1B will begin Tuesday, Jan. 19, and will be available to people who are 80 years of age or older. DeWine said that this group, outside of long-term care facilities, make up about 420,000 people. The state expects to receive 100,000 doses that first week.
“Those receiving vaccines will receive them from physicians, local health departments, hospitals, federally-qualified health centers, in-home health service providers, as well as some retail pharmacies,” DeWine said.
The Department of Health has around 1,700 providers already registered to distribute vaccinations and is working to add more.
DeWine said that Monday, Jan. 18, the state will hold a webinar for registered providers that outlines expectations and gives instructions for distribution. Tuesday, Jan. 19, those who have been selected to deliver vaccinations will be notified and will receive information about their doses.
Emergency Management Agencies are being asked to hold press conferences on either Wednesday, Jan. 20, or Thursday, Jan. 21, to announce where the vaccinations will be available in their counties and how to get them.
“On Jan. 25, we anticipate vaccinations will open up to those 75 years old and older. The following week it will open to people 70 and older, and on Feb. 8, the vaccinations will be available to those 65 and older,” DeWine said.
The governor stressed that when a new age range opens, it doesn’t mean that vaccinations are complete for the previous age range. He believes it will take a number of weeks to distribute all of the vaccine. Health leaders say the logistics of the staged vaccination rollout plan makes sense.
“The staging comes into play because there’s a limited amount of vaccine available,” said PIO Dayton & Montgomery County Public Health Dan Suffoletto. “Unfortunately, not everyone who wants it can get it right away, so he’s taking a staging approach to make sure that the most vulnerable are reached as quickly as possible and then rolling it out slowly as more vaccines become available.”
Then, in the week of Jan. 25, vaccinations will be available to those with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders. The state will provide more information about this in the near future.
The last group in Phase 1B is school personnel, who can expect to start the vaccination process Feb. 1 — with one condition — the district must agree to return to full in-person or hybrid learning by March 1. Chief Medical Officer at Miami Valley Hospital Dr. Roberto Colon says data shows school systems don’t seem to be a “petri-dish” for the coronavirus and trusts that it can be a safe environment as long as CDC guidelines are followed.
“The number of transmissions from one person to another in a school is incredibly small,” said Dr. Colon. “As we look at that and hear teachers are concerned about going back, I understand their concerns but in reality the evidence even from our own state has shown that it’s not as risky as suspected.”
Superintendents should receive forms that need to be signed, agreeing to the terms set forth by the state in order to receive the vaccine. The state also plans to ask schools for the number of staff they believe will choose to get vaccinated.
Across the board, health leaders are asking the public to exercise patients when it comes to moving into the 1B group.
“I know everyone is excited and has a lot of questions, but please have a moment of patience as we get that information from the state that allows us to be able to fully communicate our plan and get it out to everybody,” said Dr. Colon.
On Thursday, Governor DeWine says they will launch an online tool on http://coronavirus.ohio.gov where individuals will be able to see who is distributing vaccinations in their counties to what eligible group.