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As Ohio opens up eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, those 65 years or older can still get a vaccine

Virus Outbreak Vaccine Ohio
Posted at 2:35 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 17:11:15-05

CLEVELAND — If you’re an Ohio resident 75 years or older and wondering if you can still get a COVID-19 vaccine while the state continues to open up vaccine eligibility to other groups, the answer is yes, you can still sign up to get vaccinated.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, when another group like employees of K-12 schools becomes eligible, residents previously part of the first Phase 1B can still schedule a time to receive a shot.

“I want to remind everyone that when a new age group begins, the previous group continues on so they are still eligible. So beginning next week, people 75 years of age or older are eligible for the vaccine. As we all know, it's going to take a number of weeks to distribute enough vaccines for each particular group,” DeWine said during his weekly briefing on Jan. 21.

The state says it will take a number of weeks to distribute all of the vaccines given the limited doses available.

A News 5 viewer expressed frustration with the pace of the vaccine rollout. At 78 years old, a Parma resident said she feels like she is “glued to her phone” waiting on a call back for an open appointment slot.

DeWine said last week he is going to hold eligibility at 65 as crowding out eligible residents remains a concern.

“We resist every day calls for more groups to be added and come in that will get in front of our 65-year-olds or 70 or 75 or 80-year-old. On the one hand, we're getting these questions, 'why don't you include our group?' and we're pushing back and we're resisting. And the reason we're resisting is the data is still the same. Eighty-seven percent of the people in Ohio who have died of COVID have been 65 years of age or older.

In his latest COVID-19 briefing on Jan. 28, DeWine agreed that it remains a challenge to get residents to sign up if they don’t have the internet.

“So, look, it's a work in progress,” DeWine said. “It's not perfect. But we're working with our local partners to continue to to focus on that. We understand it's a problem. And look, we're not going to be satisfied until we get every person, you know, over the age of 65 who wants to be vaccinated. And we know that this is imperative. There's a moral imperative that we get this done.”

For those residents 65 years and older who have access to the internet, DeWine said a portal is being developed that will allow residents to navigate to their county where they can directly register for a vaccine, which he said “should speed things up or make life simpler.”

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health released the following statement to News 5 addressing concerns from those who feel like they will be crowded out by other groups eligible.

We are working through the Phase 1A population, so we have not had direct contact with seniors to this point. The primary issue at hand everywhere is vaccine supply. There is not enough available to meet current demand. All we can do is remain patient.

This is the schedule based on the ODH vaccination rollout plan:

  • Jan. 19, 2021 – Ohioans 80 years of age and older.
  • Jan. 25, 2021 – Ohioans 75 years of age and older; those with a developmental or intellectual disability AND one of the condition.
  • Feb. 1, 2021 – Ohioans 70 years of age and older; employees of K-12 schools that wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid models.
  • Feb. 8, 2021 – Ohioans 65 years of age and older.
  • Feb. 15, 2021 – Ohioans with severe congenital, developmental, or early-onset, and inherited conditions including cerebral palsy

RELATED: County by county: How to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccination in Northeast Ohio

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