Industry Groups Asking For COVID-19 Vaccine Priority
Workers organizations are beginning to petition the state for priority COVID-19 vaccines.
Ohio's vaccination program is operating on several tracks at once. The last round of shots for hosptial workers is wrapping up, and the vaccination program for senior citizens launched 10 days ago. Vaccinations for school-based staff started in Cincinnati today, and gets underway in other districts on Monday.
The Ohio Restaurant Association is asking Governor Mike DeWine to put restaurants in the 1C vaccine group. President and CEO John Barker says contact tracing data shows less than 2-percent of Ohio's COVID cases are coming from restaurants, and although a push back in the state's curfew is helpful, businesses have lost a significant amount of money. The group says vaccinating this group would encourage patrons to return, as well as make workers feel safer.
DeWine says he's received requests from many workers groups about prioritizing vaccinations. He says the state's focus is on protecting the most vulnerable and getting kids back in school - not protecting the economy.
"We have based what decisons we have made with the very limited amount of vaccine that we have on how we can save the most lives as quick as we can. In regard to schools, we made that decision to get kids in school. We've got specialized individuals who medically are particularly vulnerable, and that has started to occur or is occuring as well. So we really have not looked at this as 'these are the essential workers to keep the economy going'."
Embalmers and other funeral home staff are among those asking for vaccination priority.