DeWine Push To Vaccinate Ohioans Continues As COVID-19 Cases Plateau

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivers a coronavirus update in January. [Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine delivers a coronavirus update in January. [Office of Gov. Mike DeWine]

Ohio will receive more than half a million doses of COVID-19 vaccine next week, “by far the highest amount that we have received,” Gov. Mike DeWine said in a briefing Thursday.

DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Medical Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff emphasized the need to vaccinate as many people as possible to stem the spread of coronavirus, which has plateaued in recent days.

“We’re in a race to get enough people vaccinated that we stay ahead of these more contagious variants,” Vanderhoff said. “I’m encouraged by the pace at which that is happening in the state.”

DeWine announced plans for an additional 11 mass vaccination sites across Ohio set to open next week, along with four mobile clinics that will serve rural areas.

Beginning Monday, any Ohioan age 16 and older is eligible to receive a vaccine. To ease scheduling, the state is simplifying its vaccination sign up portal to accommodate that change this weekend.

The governor said the state’s first mass vaccination clinic, at the Wolstein Center at Cleveland State University, has administered 46,000 first doses of vaccine in a little more than a week.

“This afternoon, we're opening up appointments for our final segment of the first dose vaccines at the Wolstein Center,” DeWine said. “The third week of first dose vaccines at the Wolstein Center will begin March 31.”

Second dose vaccinations will begin there on Tuesday, April 6. No more first doses will be given on or after that date at that location.

DeWine said the state is also opening up a number of mass vaccination sites around the state Wednesday, including some in Northeast Ohio.

“Summit County Fairgrounds will have 5,000 doses a week,” DeWine said. “The site of the former Dillard's at the Southern Park Mall in Mahoning County will have 2,500 doses a week.”

DeWine said the state expects to receive 571,460 doses of the three vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson next week – in addition to the supply allotted to the Wolstein Center. “If you’ve had trouble in the past [scheduling an appointment], this is an opportunity,” DeWine said.

The following sites are expected to open next Wednesday:


Doses available weekly

Knights of Columbus, Lima


Lucas Co Rec Center, Toledo


Dayton Convention Center


Summit County Fairgrounds


Southern Park Mall, Youngstown


Wilmington Air Park


Colony Square Mall, Muskingum Co.


The new sites are in addition to 1,300 sites around the state already distributing vaccines. The four mobile shot clinics will be based in Richland and Jefferson counties and at Ohio Northern University in Ada and Ohio University in Athens. DeWine said appointments at these locations should begin to be available for scheduling on Saturday.

Ohio’s COVID-19 Cases Plateau

After declining for a number of weeks, COVID-19 cases have leveled off with about 1,500 new cases reported Thursday by the Ohio Department of Health.

The statewide average for new cases per 100,000 people showed a slight increase from 143.8 last week to 146.9 this week. DeWine plans to lift all health orders when the state hits 50 cases per 100,000.

“We just have to continue to work on this,” DeWine said. “It’s the defense — wearing the mask, and the offense — vaccinate, vaccinate, vaccinate. We're going to do everything we can to drive this virus to the ground.”

The Ohio Legislature on Wednesday, by overriding DeWine's veto, enacted a bill that allows lawmakers to limit a state of emergency to 90 days and terminated it after 30 days. The legislation takes effect in 90 days. DeWine did not say what legal action might come out of the legislature's move but said he maintains that the bill is unconstitutional and hurts future leaders' ability to protect citizens.

“We have the ability in the next 89 days to end this,” DeWine said. “Whatever people have thought about the health orders, all of us coming together can have a common cause to get everybody who wants to be vaccinated, vaccinated.”

Calling Out Long Term Care

The state’s effort to vaccinate people in nursing homes and assisted living facilities has been largely successful in driving down cases there. But DeWine said there are still a number of facilities that have not responded to the state's effort to vaccinate their residents.

“We must make sure these people have the opportunity to get vaccinated,” DeWine said.

The state will publicize online the 56 nursing homes and 158 assisted living facilities that have not yet responded to the state’s vaccination effort. DeWine said the facilities may have made their own arrangements for vaccines, but if so, have not informed the state.

“If you have someone living in one of those nursing homes or assisted living facilities, it’s just important that everybody who’s there has the opportunity to get the vaccine,” he said.

ideastream's Glenn Forbes contributed to this report.

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