Ohio advances to next phase of vaccine rollout


Kareem Elgazzar

A nurse prepares to administer a COVID-19 vaccine at Atrium Medical Center in Middletown, Ohio (Kareem Elgazzar/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP)

Jack Giba, Staff Reporter

During the week of Jan. 25, the Ohio Department of Health is rolling out and allocating vaccines to Ohioans 75 years of age and older as well as elders with severe congenital or developmental disorders.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to take more lives, there is hope in the coming months as more Americans and others across the world have increased access to vaccination. According to the New York Times, as of Jan. 26, 5.4% of Ohio’s population had received their first vaccination, but only 0.7% have received their second shot.

Ohio plans to roll out the vaccine in four phases, each of which has several parts. We are now in Phase 1B, and part one of the four groups within Phase 1B began during the week of Jan. 19. Ohioans 80 years and older were eligible for this rollout.

The second part of Phase 1B continues the week of Feb. 1, and will include Ohioans 70 years of age and older and employees of K-12 schools that wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid-model teaching.

The week of Feb. 8 will include Ohioans 65 years of age and older. For the full list of conditions for eligibility, refer to the Ohio Department of Health’s COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet.

As for the future phases, “The vaccine distribution plan for priority populations are (sic) still under development and will be shared publicly once finalized,” the Ohio Department of Health stated in its COVID-19 Vaccine Fact Sheet.

However, the supply of vaccines is limited. The Cleveland Clinic “currently has approximately 5,700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine for the week of Jan. 25, and will offer them to patients age 75 and older,” according to its website. At the very least, 5,700 of Ohio’s elders and most at-risk population will be vaccinated at the Cleveland Clinic. According to the Ohio Department of Health, in Cuyahoga County alone there are 86 locations administering the COVID-19 vaccine. Regarding the status of John Carroll as a vaccination site, Michael Martin, the associate dean of sciences, mathematics and health at John Carroll University, told The Carroll News, “There is some potential for John Carroll to be a vaccine distribution site, but space and parking could be an issue. We could be a location where a health care or hospital system could bring in the people to do the work.

“However, this potential does not mean that the JCU community would jump the line and be vaccinated; we would be donating space for the protection of our larger community. The slow vaccine rollout is likely to see more of the ‘megasites’ like Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles and smaller community sites.”

Though there is talk of distribution at massive sites like stadiums, it will still be a while before college students receive vaccinations. 

“It is extremely unlikely that a high proportion of John Carroll students will be vaccinated in the spring; our spring semester will continue to be difficult to manage,” Martin said. “I encourage all of our students to discuss the vaccine with their pediatrician or health care provider. Our path to normalcy relates directly to our acceptance of this vaccine. 

“I don’t know any of my scientist and health care friends or JCU alums who have not taken the vaccine. Ask your grandparents and elderly friends and neighbors if they need any help registering with a local board of health as the system is not well suited to work with those people who have technological challenges,” he concluded. For more information regarding where to get the COVID-19 vaccine, please refer to the Ohio Department of Health’s website and fact sheet.