Ohio Will Vaccinate College Students, Allow Businesses And Others To Hold Clinics
More than a dozen mass vaccination clinics around the state are open or about to open, and nearly 30 percent of the state's population have received at least one dose of the vaccine.
But the more easily transmissible variants are increasing dramatically. 92 cases of the variant were reported less than three weeks ago; the state health department reported 620 variant cases Thursday.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine says the state "can't vaccinate fast enough."
All Ohioans over the age of 16 are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, but on Thursday Governor DeWine announced several new targeted programs to get more people inoculated. Beginning next week the state will begin a collegiate blitz, to vaccinate all college students in Ohio with the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine. DeWine says the state is hoping the convenience of mass clinics, one-shot vaccines - and peer pressure - will encourage students to get vaccinated before dispersing for the summer.
"While fewer of our young people get sick from COVID, the evidence clearly shows that they are significant carriers. Because of their interaction with other people. More socialization, more contacts. And so it is a strategic move, frankly, to vaccinate them.
Since the first vaccine doses arrived in Ohio they have been distributed based on the percentage of people in eligible groups in each county. Moving forward, DeWine says the state will also begin shuffling vaccine supplies to areas of high demand.
"So as we continue to get additional vaccinations we will make the decision every single week on where we deploy those. It will still be based primarily on population, but if we see a part of Ohio - a city, a zip code, whatever - that is really... people are backed up, and there's really great demand, then we will surge more vaccine in there."
Businesses, churches and unions will also soon be able to hold vaccination days for their members and employees. Earlier this week DeWine announced the state was temporarily halting those closed clinics, in order to make sure there was enough vaccine. But he now says that - for the week beginning April 12th - providers can set aside up 25% of their supply to scheduled the sponsored clinics, to reach people where they may be more comfortable.