Ohio opens COVID vaccine eligibility to those ages 40+

Eligibility to expand to Ohioans 16 and older on March 29

Credit: Bill Lackey

Credit: Bill Lackey

An estimated 1.5 million additional Ohioans are now able to get the coronavirus vaccine as the state expands eligibility to those 40 and older.

People with cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease or obesity regardless of age are also now able to get vaccinated starting today.

Montgomery County already began allowing the 40-plus group to receive the shots this week because of increased supply and available appointments.

Gov. Mike DeWine announced the expansion in the state’s vaccine rollout Tuesday morning at Ohio’s first long-term mass vaccination site in Cleveland.

He also announced that starting March 29 all residents ages 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine.

“It’s a moral imperative that we move as quickly as we can to vaccinate all Ohioans who wish to be vaccinated,” DeWine said.

With the state expected to see an increase in vaccine shipments, the governor said he felt comfortable expanding vaccine eligibity.

The state received 400,000 vaccines this week and is expected to receive another 400,000 next week. The week of March 29 Ohio is expected to see an increase of vaccine shipments to 500,000 doses.

The mass vaccination site in Cleveland will receive about 210,000 vaccines over eight weeks, which is in addition to the state’s weekly allocation. The site, which launched Wednesday, will be able to vaccinate as many as 6,000 people a day.

Multiple health departments told the governor they were ready to expand vaccine eligibility earlier this week.

“The consensus from talking to the health departments was that we need to open up vaccinations either further,” he said.

Currently, no COVID vaccine has been authorized for children in the United States. The Pfizer vaccine was approved for those 16 and older and the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccine was authorized for ages 18 and older.

As of Thursday, more than 2.5 million have received at least one dose and 1,484,761 people have finished the vaccine, according to the state health department.

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