DeWine maps plan for more vaccine rollout

Phase 1B vaccinations expected to begin in 2 weeks

Voicing frustration with the current pace of coronavirus vaccine distribution, Gov. Mike DeWine announced plans Tuesday to solve the problem. In his briefing, DeWine launched a campaign to win more acceptance of the vaccine by workers in nursing homes statewide.

So far 60 percent of the workers approached to take the vaccine declined it because they did not trust that it is safe. It apparently caught DeWine off guard.

“I don’t like it. I am anxious to move forward,” DeWine said.

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In response, the governor went live on TV during his statewide briefing to the Wright Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center in Fairborn where Pharmacist Meran Ritter administered the vaccine to employees Darrell Holt and Sean Veasley.

Later in the broadcast, Ursel McElroy, DeWine’s Director of the Ohio Department of Ageing, said that she is holding a series of online town hall meetings with nursing home workers in an effort to convince more people to get the vaccine when it is offered to them.

Part of the problem with slow rollout of the vaccine, according to DeWine, is also the limited number of doses that are available from the federal government. DeWine hopes that increases soon.

He promised that a plan is in the works for distribution of the vaccine in the next phase, called “1 B.” It will include people who are over 65 years of age, but will begin with those at 80 and above because they are most vulnerable.

“As far as distribution of the vaccine is concerned, we have chosen to begin with those who will die without it,” said Ohio Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, who urged people to be patient.

DeWine said the plan to be announced in the coming weeks would give details on who is eligible and where they should go to get the vaccine. He said it likely would be obtained at local doctor’s offices by appointment, at the offices of local health agencies and/or in large vaccination events at university parking lots and county fairgrounds. Still, DeWine cautioned, depending on people’s age, it could be months away.

He said the announcement of his plan in the near future would at least give people a better idea of how they will obtain the vaccine if they want it.

“We’re pushing this forward. We’re telling people where we are going to be in two weeks, where we will be in three weeks, where we’re going to be in four weeks,” DeWine said.