A COVID-19 vaccine may be in Ohio by December — who gets it first, and where can they get it?

Vaccine trial
Posted at 1:22 PM, Nov 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-18 13:22:03-05

CLEVELAND — A COVID-19 vaccine may become available in Ohio as early as December, and Governor Mike DeWine on Tuesday shared plans to distribute the first doses to those who are most at-risk in the state, with three sites in Northeast Ohio pre-positioning themselves as distribution centers.

“The good news is that we have a vaccine coming,” DeWine said at a news conference at the Burke Lakefront Airport in Cleveland Wednesday morning. “We have vaccines coming. And the news that we heard yesterday…indicates that these vaccines are about 95% effective, which I'm told by doctors is a really phenomenal high level. So that is great news.”

According to an ABC News report, a final review of Pfizer’s vaccine candidate shows it is 95% effective, and the company said they will be seeking an emergency use authorization from the federal government within the next few days.

“We intend to - we hope - the Trump administration tells us that we will start getting these in Ohio in December,” DeWine said Wednesday. “The first batch will be, we're told, 30,000, and we will have batches come from then going forward.”

DeWine said the first batches of the vaccine will go to those who are most at-risk, including those who work in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, other congregate-care facilities, high-risk health care workers and first responders.

The state government has selected 10 pre-positioned sites for vaccine distribution, based on geography, populations and access to ultra-cold storage capacity, as the vaccine must be kept cold to remain effective.

The three sites in Northeast Ohio currently selected for vaccine prepositioning are:

  • Cleveland Clinic Main Campus in Cuyahoga County
  • MetroHealth Main Campus Medical Center in Cuyahoga County
  • Aultman Hospital in Stark County
A full map and list of the Ohio locations that are pre-positioning for a COVID-19 vaccine.

DeWine said that while a vaccine should be available soon, it will take some time before all Ohioans can get vaccinated, and we must remain vigilant in the meantime.

“This will take a while. This will take a number of months to get done,” DeWine said. “But for the first time, we now have great confidence that this vaccine is here. It's going to be used and it's going to take us out of this great tragedy. But, but we have a few months to go. And so we all together have to build a bridge. We're in the process now of building a bridge to get us to that time in the future. And what we do in the next several weeks as Ohioans will determine if we can really build this bridge and if we can slow the spread of this virus down. So we have taken some actions in the last week that should help. But the most important thing is what each individual Ohioan does.”

Those steps include the expanded mask mandate, the new social gathering order, and the statewide curfew, set to take effect Thursday at 10 p.m.