Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff today provided the following update yesterday on Ohio's Phases 1A and 1B of Ohio's vaccine distribution plan. Because the availability of the vaccine remains limited in Ohio and across the country, Ohio is taking a phased approach that prioritizes the most vulnerable citizens, those in the healthcare field, and school staff members.
Phase 1A, which is currently underway, includes approximately 1 million Ohioans. It is anticipated that vaccine distribution in Phase 1B will begin as Phase 1A begins to wind down.
Phase 1B focuses largely on those who are 65 and older. Those in this age group are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and make up more than 87 percent of Ohioans who have died from the virus. Phase 1B also includes school teachers and other school staff who will be offered the vaccine in an effort to get Ohio's children back to school as soon as possible. In total, Phase 1B includes an estimated 2.2 million people.
Details of future phases of the vaccination plan will be announced as Phases 1A and 1B progress and as Ohio receives vaccines for the future phases. Ohio is currently receiving roughly 100,000 vaccines each week, although that number could increase if more vaccines are approved for administration.
NURSING HOME VACCINATIONS
As of Sunday, approximately 61 percent of nursing homes in Ohio have been visited by a pharmacy vaccine provider. Of those locations, only approximately 40 percent of staff members have chosen to receive the vaccination. Of nursing home residents, approximately 75 to 80 percent of residents have decided to receive the vaccine.
Nursing home staff and residents who have received their first dose of vaccine will begin receiving second doses on Friday. Governor DeWine encouraged those in nursing homes who initially declined to receive the vaccine to get their first dose as part of this second round. Following this opportunity, it may be some time before a first dose is available again.
VACCINE DISCUSSIONS FOR LONG-TERM CARE PROVIDERS
The Ohio Department of Aging will be hosting live discussions to help educate long-term care providers about the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine. State and community vaccine experts will be available to answer questions about the vaccine, and participants will have the opportunity to offer input to help state leaders make decisions to guide Ohio out of the pandemic.
** OAMES is working with the Governor's office and other health officials to obtain additional guidance and access to the vaccine for HME/CRT providers as a follow-up to OAMES' letter sent to Director Stephanie McCloud of the Ohio Department of Health Director last month. We are urging that front-line staff working directly with patients and customers (clinicians, therapists, drivers/delivery personnel, sales/service staff etc.) have access to the vaccine and will share more information with OAMES members as it becomes available. HME providers are advised to reach out to their local county or city health departments to explain the role of your organization and ask for assistance. For HME providers who are hospital-based, you should have access to the vaccine through the health system.