DeWine Lays Out Plan To Vaccinate Elderly, School Personnel

Ohio's Phase 1B for COVID-19 vaccine distribution will include 2.2 million teachers and other school employees, people older than 65 and those with severe medical disorders.
Ohio's Phase 1B for COVID-19 vaccine distribution will include 2.2 million teachers and other school employees, people older than 65 and those with severe medical disorders. [Ohio Department of Health]

Updated: 4:10 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2020

As Ohio continues to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Mike DeWine on Thursday outlined plans to add recipients in the 1B group in the coming weeks.

The governor also said he’s disturbed by reports that some counties, including Erie County in Northern Ohio, have already vaccinated people not included in the 1A group.

“Every time we vaccinate someone who’s 35 years of age who does not have a great risk, we’re bumping somebody,” DeWine said. “We’ve got to protect lives.”

The state is at the mercy of the vaccine supply and has to ration its distribution, DeWine said, and Ohio expects to receive approximately 100,000 doses of the vaccine each week for the coming weeks, going into the planned round of 1B vaccinations.

“Those numbers could certainly change,” he said. "We hope the number of vaccines coming into Ohio will increase."

Distributions of vaccines to group 1A, which includes frontline workers will continue as the state begins to vaccinate group 1B, which includes an estimated 2.2 million people, DeWine said.

The 1B distribution will begin Jan. 19, with vaccines being made available to those age 80 and older, an Ohio population segment estimated at between than 420,000 and 450,000.

"We will start with our most vulnerable, where we’ve seen the most tragedy," DeWine said. "They're the people in this state who have the most risk of death if they get COVID."

Each week, additional recipients will be added to the distribution list, including:

  • Week of Jan. 19: Age 80+
  • Week of Jan. 25: Age 75+ and those with specific medical conditions
  • Week of Feb. 1: Age 70+ and K-12 school personnel
  • Week of Feb. 8: Age 65+

As of Thursday afternoon, Ohio’s total cases of COVID-19 were at 753,068 according to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH). Deaths totaled 9,462, with 94 new coronavirus related deaths in the previous 24 hours, taking the 21-day average to 75.

School Staff Vaccinations Coming

The state this week is sending forms to school superintendents, DeWine said. Those who commit to offering in-person or hybrid instruction by March 1 will be eligible to have personnel vaccinated.

"Our goal is to have every child in school by March 1," DeWine said, acknowledging school personnel would not necessarily receive both doses of the vaccine by then, but that all those who want the vaccine should be able to receive the first dose by that date.

About 1,700 vaccine providers have registered with ODH. The state plans to host a webinar for those providers Jan. 11 to outline expectations and instructions for distributing 1B round vaccinations. DeWine also said he is asking each county's emergency management agency to hold a press conference later that week, outlining local plans for administering the vaccine.

"A Horrible, Tragic Day"

Commenting on the violent mob that broke into the U.S. Capitol Wednesday in an attempt to stop Congress from certifying Joe Biden's presidential victory, a somber DeWine called the actions “devastating, despicable” and “a direct attack on the Constitution, on everything that we hold dear.”

But he also applauded Congress for working late into the night to complete the certification saying it was "a sign of great strength and unity and hope.”

“Early this morning Vice President Pence, senators, House members once again carried out their solemn duty and made the system work, in spite of what had occurred earlier in the day when thugs stormed our Capitol building, desecrating and defiling not only the structure itself but the ideal that bind us together as Americans. They made it work, they did their job,” DeWine said. “The system worked. The Constitution held. I thank them for doing their job amidst chaos and danger to themselves."

While he called the actions by President Donald Trump and his supporters "shameful,” DeWine said he does not support invoking the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power.

With 13 days remaining in Trump's term, DeWine said such a move would "stoke the fires" of those who don't like the outcome of the election.

"For the good of the country, that seems to me to be something that would cause more division than healing and we should be at a time now for healing,” he said.

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