COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine Monday defended Ohio’s vaccine rollout as questions over availability and confusion of vaccine sign-ups continue to grow.
In an exclusive interview, DeWine pointed to a nationwide shortage of the COVID-19 vaccine as a primary hurdle.
“It’s a huge, huge problem,” says DeWine, who even looked into purchasing vaccines directly from pharmaceutical companies, but was informed that was not possible.
Evaluating the effectiveness of Ohio’s vaccine rollout is also difficult as statistics can be impacted by a number of issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 954,013 doses have been administered in Ohio.
Yet, another tracker compiled by Bloomberg reveals just 7 percent of Ohioans have received at least one dose—appearing to trail neighboring states, such as:
- Michigan 7.7%
- Indiana 8.3%
- West Virginia 10.8%
But Ohio health officials caution that those figures are directly impacted by how statistics are reported and compiled.
For example, reported numbers of vaccinations are always a snapshot in time; there are delays in updating and thousands of doses are required to be held aside for nursing homes.
DeWine says he takes “great pride” in how Ohio has “drilled down” to get the vaccine to the most vulnerable — like in nursing homes, where 54% of all COVID deaths have occurred.
DeWine also defends starting the rollout with the health care workers and those over 65 that account for 87% of all COVID deaths.
The governor insisted the rollout is also working efficiently, saying 98% of vaccine received has been “put into arms” for first doses.
He also believes that providing thousands of locations across the state, including neighborhood pharmacies, is more effective than several centralized locations.
One of the biggest complaints so far has been difficulty scheduling a vaccine appointment, and DeWine says he is currently working on a state portal that will simplify scheduling in one place.