CLEVELAND — Fifty-one days after the first doses were administered in Ohio, the number of vaccinated Ohioans as of Tuesday finally surpassed the number of total positive cases in the state, marking a milestone in the ongoing pandemic. Although less than 8 percent of Ohioans have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, the number of vaccines administered per day across the state has surged in recent weeks.
As of Tuesday, a total of 908,096 Ohioans have received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine compared to the 906,727 positive COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic. Cuyahoga County hit its milestone earlier this week with just over 94,000 vaccines administered compared to 89,881 total COVID-19 cases.
Kate Warren, a research fellow at the Center for Community Solutions, has been crunching the data since the pandemic began. She said the milestone should be viewed with tempered optimism.
"We’re really glad to see the number of people that have been vaccinated will surpass the number of people that have had COVID-19. We know that’s a hopeful milestone for Ohio," Warren said. "We also know there is a lot of work to do."
In a recent blog post on the Center for Community Solutions' website, graphs show the vaccine rollout started slow beginning on Dec. 14. Two weeks after administering the first doses, the state eclipsed 100,000 total vaccinations, averaging around 7,100 vaccinations per day. In the 37 days since then, the state has averaged just under 21,900 vaccinations per day with major surges occurring in the past two weeks.
"We really have seen the increase in cases is slowing and the vaccinations are picking up," Warren said. "That’s a really hopeful thing to see."
Currently, Ohio is just slightly below the U.S. vaccination rate of 7.8 percent and it ranks 38th in terms of total vaccination coverage, partly due in part to the state's phased distribution plan, Warren said. The vaccinations of older Ohioans, including those 80 and older, have seen marked improvement.
"The first group in Phase 1B that were able to get vaccines were adults over the age of 80. In that group in Ohio, we’re right around half of older adults over the age of 80 that have been vaccinated now," Warren said. "That's also great and a hopeful milestone to see."