CLEVELAND — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced that on March 29, vaccine eligibility will be open to all Ohioans ages 16 and older.
"It's a moral imperative that we move as quickly as we can to vaccinate all Ohioans who wish to be vaccinated," DeWine said at the soft launch of the Wolstein Center Mass Vaccination Clinic in Cleveland.
On March 19, DeWine said Phase 1E will begin open eligibility for anyone with one of the five following health conditions: cancer, kidney disease, COPD, heart disease and obesity.
DeWine said an estimated 766,000 Ohioans fall under the 1E group. Ohioans will not be required to prove they have one of the above conditions. Unlike other states, DeWine said Ohio will not require a doctor's note.
“We don’t want to create a second barrier for someone to get it,” DeWine said.
𝗢𝗵𝗶𝗼 𝗩𝗮𝗰𝗰𝗶𝗻𝗲 𝗘𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗶𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 𝗨𝗽𝗱𝗮𝘁𝗲: It's a moral imperative that we move as quickly as we can to vaccinate all Ohioans who wish to be vaccinated. We expect a significant increase in vaccines coming to Ohio soon, so we will expand vaccine eligibility. ⬇ pic.twitter.com/jjFXtMhtf4— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 16, 2021
Phase 2C will also begin Friday, which will open COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to all Ohioans 40 years and older.
DeWine said about 1.6 million Ohioans will be eligible between the 1E and 2C groups on March 19.
Ohioans who are 16 and 17 years old will only be able to receive the Pfizer vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration Emergency use for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson only includes individuals 18 years and older.
The opportunity to have every Ohioan eligible for the vaccine is just as important as making sure it's accessible to everyone, DeWine said.
"We wanted people in every community to have the ability to get a vaccination within their community. We have done that, but our plan also has been to build from there, just like you're building a house and to build up to mass vaccination sites," DeWine said.
When DeWine was asked why he didn't open eligibility sooner to all Ohioans regardless of age as other states did, he said it came down to the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses available.
"Why are we doing it now? The answer is we have more vaccines. If you look at what we started back in January 1, you know, in December, when we started, it was a lot less vaccine, and the vaccine has continued to go up, and as it goes up, we now are filling out building the rest of the house out."
The Ohio Department of Health launched a portal where Ohioans can find out if they are eligible for the COVID-19. Click here to view eligibility and book your COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
We will continue to update this story with additional details.
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