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DeWine On COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout 'We're Not Moving Fast Enough'

Gov. Mike DeWine speaks in his daily press briefing on April 30. Five days later he announced budget cuts of $775 million.
Office of Gov. Mike DeWine
Gov. Mike DeWine speaks in his daily press briefing on April 30. Five days later he announced budget cuts of $775 million.

Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) says he is not happy with the pace of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Ohio. But he says there are challenges standing in the way of speeding up the process.

In Ohio, more than 94,000 people have reportedly received their first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. That's out of about 529,900 total doses of the vaccine the state was expecting to receive by the end of December. The Ohio Department of Health says it does not know how many doses have been shipped to Ohio.

When asked why the rate of vaccination is falling below 20%, DeWine listed several issues such as vaccinations not arriving as scheduled, overburdened local health departments, and nursing home staff refusing the shot. 

"We know that a dose sitting somewhere not in a person is a missed opportunity," says DeWine who added that he did not want to assign blame.

Watch: Gov. Mike DeWine on challenges to administer vaccine.

DeWine said he was receiving reports showing only about 40% of nursing home staff eligible for the vaccine opted to get the shot.  

But critics have fired back at DeWine and the Trump Administration saying the rollout has been mishandled. 

Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes says Republican leadership have failed to create an effective distribution infrastructure, and have pushed the process through underfunded local health departments.

"Pushing this process through the same underfunded and ignored public health infrastructure system is unsurprisingly running into the same issues that we saw with testing. The vaccines are coming in, but overwhelmed and underfunded local health departments and hospital systems simply don’t have the capacity to test, treat, trace, and vaccinate," Sykes said in a written statement.

There are three main hub distributing the vaccine; pharmacies, hospitals, and local health departments. DeWine says the state remains in communication with all the partners in order to address the challenges.

"We're not moving fast enough. But we're going to get there and we're going to speed this thing up," DeWine says.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

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.