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DeWine: Ohio 'On Track' To Make All Adults Eligible For Vaccine By May 1

A phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Belfast, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020.
Liam McBurney
Pool via AP
A phial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Royal Victoria Hospital, in Belfast, Tuesday Dec. 8, 2020.

President Joe Biden's national goal to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to every adult by May 1 is within reach for Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine says.

Vaccine eligibility broadened this week with the inclusion of people over the age of 50, those with Type 2 diabetes, and end-stage renal disease. This adds nearly 1.4 million people to the eligibility list in Ohio.

DeWine says Biden's goal was already a possibility before the president made the announcement Thursday night.

"We are on track to do that, we're going to make the vaccine available as quickly as we can," DeWine says.

Ohio is aligning with federal guidelines that continue allowing visitation at nursing homes unless there's a coronavirus outbreak. And assisted living facilities can now allow visits in a resident's room.

DeWine says to expect full county fairs this summer, but with rules attached such as limited crowds in grandstands. As for spring high school sports, DeWine removed the rule that student athletes must quarantine if they're exposed to COVID in the classroom.

DeWine said the state will be expanding access to at-home COVID-19 tests. Asked if more testing would make it harder to clear the case threshold needed to lift state mandates, DeWine said no because the positivity rate is so low.

"So I'm not worried about how many tests were doing," DeWine says. "That is not going to really impact to a great extent when your positivity rate is that low. So no, I'm not concerned about that at all."

DeWine set a goal for the state to drop to 50 cases per 100,000 people in order to lift all state health orders. By Thursday, DeWine announced the two-week case average had gone down to 155 cases per 100,000 people.

What questions do you have about COVID-19, the vaccines or Ohio's response? Ask below and WOSU may answer as part of our series A Year Of COVID.


Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.