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Coronavirus In Ohio: DeWine Announces Timeline For Vaccine Delivery

A volunteer receives an injection in Soweto, Johannesburg, as part of Africa's first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial developed at the University of Oxford on June 24, 2020.
Siphiwe Sibeko
Pool via AP
A volunteer receives an injection in Soweto, Johannesburg, as part of Africa's first participation in a COVID-19 vaccine trial developed at the University of Oxford on June 24, 2020.

First responders such as doctors and EMS workers, and staff and residents at congregate living facilities are at the front of the line for the coronavirus vaccine in Ohio, under a distribution plan announced Friday by Gov. Mike DeWine.

At a press conference, DeWine detailed when and how many COVID-19 vaccines the state will receive, as well as the groups who will initially receive these first shipments, which are slated to begin December 15.

"This is a work in progress," DeWine emphasized. "The main objectives are: save lives – to cover the most vulnerable as quickly as we can; second, slow the spread of the virus; and third, make sure our health care workers are safe."

The state expects more than 650,000 in combined doses from Pfizer and Moderna by the end of the month.

Who Will Get Vaccines First

DeWine said Phase 1 will begin "around" December 15, with an estimated shipment of about 100,000 doses from Pfizer. The following groups, which DeWine made sure to say are listed in no particular order, will be prioritized:

  • Health care workers and personnel who are involved with the care of COVID-19 patients
  • EMS responders
  • "Vulnerable" people who live together and those who care for them, such as residents and staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, psychiatric hospitals, group homes for people with mental disabilities, and homes for Ohio veterans

DeWine said the number of vaccines received from Pfizer and Moderna are tentative and "subject to change, subject to shipment." In the first shipment, Pfizer is expected to send 9,750 doses to hospitals and 88,725 to Walgreens and CVS to go to congregant care settings.
On December 22, Pfizer will ship another 123,000 doses to hospitals and pharmacies, while Moderna will ship 201,000 doses to 98 hospitals and 108 health departments to vaccinate EMS personnel. At some point in late December, Pfizer will send another 148,000 does and Moderna another 89,000.

DeWine said those who received the first dose of the vaccine should receive the second dose by mid-January.

However, the governor says it's too soon to know when adults without health problems will get the chance to receive the vaccine. DeWine also did not answer whether inmates or staff at Ohio prisons, which have experienced large outbreaks and death tolls from COVID-19, would be among the first groups prioritized.

Addressing Skepticism

Seemingly anticipating questions about the speed in which these vaccines have been tested and rolled out, Dr. Joseph Gastaldo, system medical director of infectious diseases at Ohio Health, joined the conference to talk about how these vaccines are being tested.

Calling the vaccines "a first major step to getting back to a pre-COVID way of life," he said both trials prioritized safety and were conducted the same way as previous vaccines, "just more efficient" without compromising safety. Gastaldo said the vaccines are 95% effective and must be approved by medical experts at both the FDA and CDC in public reviews before they ship out.

Symptoms from the vaccine could include a sore arm and a headache, Gastaldo says, and people might feel “off-kilter” for about a day.

When asked if he would take the vaccine on camera – as former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have agreed to do – DeWine answered at least part of the question unequivocally.

"I will take it, absolutely as soon as I can take it," DeWine said. "I'm anxious to take it."