CLEVELAND — New data from the Ohio Department of Health shows vaccination rates have increased across the state as more than half of Ohioans have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The latest data shows that 60.9% of Ohioans 18 and over have received at least one dose of the vaccine, while 58% of all eligible Ohioans, those 12 and older, are either fully or partially vaccinated.
The age group with the highest vaccination rate is Ohioans 70-74 years old.
On Aug. 6, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced there has been an increase of vaccinations in 85 of Ohio’s 88 counties in July compared to the previous month.
“We have vaccines that are powerful and do an amazing job. They are so powerful that we now live in a state with two groups of people – those vaccinated and those not,” said Governor DeWine. “Those who are vaccinated are safe, those who are not vaccinated are not safe.”
DeWine and health officials like Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health, once again encourage Ohioans to get the COVID-19 vaccine as the highly contagious Delta variant has become the dominant strain in the state.
“Delta spreads like wildfire and seeks out anyone who is unvaccinated. But there is good news as two things remain very clear: first, the vaccines are the key to containing this fire and ultimately putting it out,” said Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D. “Secondly, vaccination is without any doubt your best bet, regardless of your age, for avoiding getting really sick with COVID-19 and to avoid lasting complications like Long COVID.”
While health officials agree that higher vaccination rates are a sign we are on the right track, at least one official News 5 spoke to says that percentage needs to be higher for us to be safer.
"We’re starting to see folks come forward and say, you know, I was hesitant, but I’m afraid to wait any longer. And that would be a smart move because this virus is very contagious," said Summit County Health Commissioner Donna Skoda.
Skoda said with the Delta variant at play, Ohio is seeing a similar surge in cases like last fall, but says this time around we have the vaccine to stop it from happening.
"If we get to 70 [percent], I will feel a lot better," Skoda said. "Nobody wants this virus to be able to mutate one more time and it not be responsive to these three vaccines, because if that happens, then we’re right back at square one."
Cases among children are on the rise as a new school year approaches. The American Academy of Pediatrics reported between July 22 and July 29, almost 72,000 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in children, an increase from the week prior when about 39,000 cases were reported.
"We have not seen that here yet. But I can tell you what typically follows west to south. We get it eventually in the Midwest. So now is the time to really batten down the hedge hatches and protect yourself and your children," Skoda said.
Visit our Vaccinating Ohio page for the latest updates on Ohio's vaccination program, including links to sign up for a vaccine appointment, a map of nearby vaccination sites, a detailed breakdown of the state's current vaccine phase, and continuing local coverage of COVID-19 vaccines in Northeast Ohio.
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