COLUMBUS, Ohio — During a press conference Monday, Gov. Mike DeWine announced the priority groups who will be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccination as part of the state’s Phase 1C and also announced the date that Phase 2 is set to begin.
The latest phase includes eligibility for individuals who live with certain medical conditions or work in certain professions who have not been covered in previous phases based on their age or medical condition.
DeWine said that Phase 1C will begin on Thursday, March 4.
The medical conditions that will be included in Phase 1C include:
- Those with Type 1 diabetes.
- Pregnant women.
- Bone marrow transplant recipients.
- Those with ALS.
In addition to including individuals who have certain medical conditions, the state is also including individuals who work in certain high-risk professions under their vaccination eligibility guidelines.
Those professions eligible under Phase 1C include individuals working in:
- Childcare services
- Funeral services
- Law enforcement and corrections officers
Those working in childcare services who are eligible for the vaccine include administrators, lead and assistant teachers and substitutes enrolled in Ohio’s Professional Registry working in open child care and pre-K programs.
Licensing specialists employed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services or county agencies are also eligible under Phase 1C.
Joan Hamm, the executive director of Children First of Cleveland, said she and her staff have waited patiently for their turn.
"I really thought it was probably going to be summer by the time we could be on the list to get the vaccinations," she said. "Among my staff it’s very wearing to come to work and to be afraid to get sick, or to be afraid to be on the ventilator."
Hamm said it's a step in the right direction after a long year.
"I know we are going to need to still be careful with masks, and still keep all our good practices in place, but it just feels like there’s a little light at the end of the tunnel."
Individuals working in funeral services who are eligible to be vaccinated include embalmers and morticians, funeral home directors, crematory operators, and apprentices.
Those working in law enforcement and corrections who are eligible for vaccination under the new phase include sworn law enforcement and peace officers with first responder or supervisory responsibilities who are active-duty and work a minimum of 20 hours a week, correction staff including probation and parole staff who provide direct services to inmates or court-supervised individuals, and those with a valid active firefighting certificate in Ohio who are active members or employees of a recognized fire department.
For months, police unions and local government officials have asked DeWine to include police officers on the next vaccine rollout. Lt. Michael Miller of the Akron Police Department said the news is refreshing.
"The people that are tasked, that are in charge of keeping communities safe, keeping individuals safe, violent crime, things of that nature. Our officers are out there every day on the front line and it’s just unfathomable that it took this long, again, we welcome it. At this point, it’s very enthusiastically received," he said.
DeWine said that approximately 246,000 individuals are estimated to be eligible for the vaccine under the state’s Phase 1C.
The governor also announced when the state’s Phase 2 will begin, which is the same date Phase 1C is set to start—Thursday, March 4.
Under the state’s Phase 2 vaccination group, individuals age 60 and older will be eligible for the vaccination.
DeWine said that around 695,000 individuals will become eligible to be vaccinated under Phase 2.
The governor said the state will soon announce additional mass vaccination sites across the state to accommodate the increase of eligible individuals, but that information is not yet available to be released.
DeWine said that while he has opened up eligibility for more groups, the main indicator for eligibility will remain age.
"What we did today is lower the age down to 60 and at the same time put several groups in there so it's a balance," DeWine said. "What we intend to do after 60 is go to 55 and after 55 we intend to go to 50 and whether we add additional occupations we have not, frankly, decided. But the age will continue to be the key indicator."
For a current list of vaccine providers, click here.