DeWine Announces Vaccine Distribution Plan

DeWine Announces Vaccine Distribution Plan

In his most hopeful briefing since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, Gov. Mike DeWine Friday said the state will work to get the coronavirus vaccine to as many people as they can when it becomes available. “Our goal is to get this out as quickly as possible,” DeWine said.

DeWine confirmed that the first shipment of the Pfizer vaccine will arrive in the state about December 15 and will contain 98,000 doses. The second shipment will contain 201,000 doses of the vaccine from a different company, Moderna, which has proved in trials to be equally effective. Both vaccines are expected to soon receive final approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control. Like the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna’s vaccine will require a second dose within a few weeks of the first application to be effective.

DeWine’s shipment schedule released Friday calls for another 123,000 doses from Pfizer on December 22nd. Two additional shipments are expected before the end of the month. The final Pfizer shipment in December would be on the 23rd. The next shipment from Moderna would also arrive in the state on the 23rd and would contain 89,000 doses.

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In all more than half a million people would be vaccinated to protect against the coronavirus by the end of the month. Doctors who joined DeWine on his Friday briefing said they are excited about it the vaccine and what it will do for Ohio and the nation. “Having an effective vaccine is the first step to get us back to the pre-COVID way of life,” said Dr. Joseph Gestaldo, Riverside Hospital, Columbus.

DeWine’s distribution schedule, made public for the first time, revealed who would get the vaccine in the first round. Those people would include:

  • Health care workers who routinely work with COVID-19 patients
  • Residents and staff at nursing homes
  • Residents and staff at assisted living facilities
  • Patients and staff at state psychiatric hospitals
  • People with intellectual disabilities and those with mental illness, who live in group homes or centers and staff at those locations
  • Residents and staff at Ohio veterans homes
  • EMS responders

When asked about people who may be reluctant to take the vaccine, DeWine said he believes as more people take it and word about it spreads, people will feel more comfortable about it because they will be more familiar with it. “Information is power. People are going to have a lot of information coming to them in the next several weeks,” DeWine said. The governor said he plans to get the vaccine when it is appropriate for him to get it, along with his wife, Fran.

Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, Chief Medical Officer at the Ohio Department of Health, also announced that the state is modifying its quarantine standards to conform to the recent changes by the Centers for Disease Control. A two week quarantine may not be necessary for someone who suspects they have come into contact with another person who has the virus. Instead, the person who has no symptoms but fears they have the virus may only need to quarantine for 10 days if they are tested on day eight and do not have a positive test result. Under the right conditions, a seven day quarantine may be acceptable.

The governor noted that even though the vaccine is on the way to Ohio soon, the state may not be done with additional restrictions. DeWine said the mask mandate, increased enforcement and curfew have helped, but it is still not enough to hold down the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths. He declined to elaborate on what could be coming next, saying only that he has been in discussions with legislative leaders about some possible added changes designed to slow the spread of the virus.