COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Two months after becoming fully eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, 36% of Ohio’s 20-29-year-olds have done so, yet health care experts say obstacles to receiving vaccines need to be removed to get that rate to increase.

“[People in] that age category are working all day. It’s hard for them to make an appointment transportation,” said Dr. Joseph Gostaldo, OhioHealth’s medical director of infectious diseases.

“We need to remove obstacles, bring vaccines to where people work [and] communicate with the leaders in the business community to remove barriers to excuse people to get vaccinated.”

In Ohio’s largest counties, including those that contain Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati, the rate at which young adults are vaccinated outpaces the statewide average.

Franklin County’s 20-29-year-olds outpace Ohio by nearly 10 points at 45%, and in Delaware County, which has the highest overall vaccination rate, 59% of the age group have had at least one shot.

In Dayton’s Montgomery County, though, young adults fall below the average at 32% with at least one dose.

30% of Ohio’s 20-29-year-olds are fully vaccinated, including just under 39% in Franklin County and just over 50% in Delaware County.

Statewide, 45% of Ohioans have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Ohio Department of Health data. Last week, the state hit a vaccine milestone with 5 million people vaccinated. The overall vaccination rate has increased since the Vax-a-Million lottery was announced.

Timeline of COVID-19 vaccine eligibility in Ohio:

  • Dec. 14, 2020: Healthcare workers receive first vaccines
  • Jan. 19: 80+
  • Jan. 25: 75+
  • Feb. 1: 70+, K-12 teachers and staff
  • Feb. 8: 65+
  • Feb. 15: Those with early childhood conditions that are carried into adulthood
  • Mar. 4: 60+, pregnant people, certain professions (law enforcement officers, childcare workers)
  • Mar. 11: 50+, people with type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease
  • Mar. 19: 40+, people with certain health conditions (obesity, cancer, heart disease, COPD)
  • Mar. 29: 16+
  • May 13: 12+

Vaccine appointments in central Ohio are readily available. Columbus Public Health, OhioHealth, Mount Carmel, and others offer no-appointment-needed walk-in or drive-up vaccines.