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WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

Advocates for Cancer Patients Wonder Why They Aren't Given Priority for COVID Vaccines in Ohio

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Leaders with the American Cancer Society and the Ohio Hematology Society say those who are battling cancer should be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

The list of Ohioans who will be eligible for COVID vaccines come Thursdaywill include people 50 and over and those with Type 2 diabetes or end-stage renal failure. But the priority list still doesn’t include cancer patients. 

When Gov. Mike DeWine announced the expansion of the list this week, Bryan Hannon, director of government relations for the American Cancer Society says he was a little confounded. 

“Certainly, going by an age-based approach has made sense for Ohio, but once you start adding in other chronic diseases and conditions but not adding in cancer, as the CDC recommends, it certainly leaves us with a lot of questions," Hannon said.

David Dillahunt, executive director of the Ohio Hematology Oncology Society, is also wondering why cancer patients are not on the list.

“I just don’t know why they just haven’t taken that step to include those who are fighting cancer and those who tend to end up in the hospital if things go wrong. They are much more likely, if they get COVID, than those who are not currently going through cancer treatment," Dillahunt said.

There are at least 17 states that have put patients with cancer on the priority list for COVID vaccines. 
Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.