Phase 1B vaccinations expected to begin in 2 weeks, DeWine says.

Phase 1B vaccinations expected to begin in 2 weeks

Gov. Mike DeWine announced new details on the state’s plans for the next phase of the coronavirus vaccine distribution during an afternoon press conference.

The following announcements were made:

  • 61 percent of the state’s nursing homes have been visited for the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Sunday. DeWine said he believes most of the nursing homes will see their first visits by next week.
  • DeWine said about 40 percent of nursing home staff are electing to get the vaccine on the first visit. He said that 75 to 80 percent of residents are getting the shot.
  • The state said some of the reluctance to get the vaccine for staff members comes from concerns over side effects, safety and effectiveness of the vaccine and mistrust in vaccines in general. “We know that people are hesitant,” said Ohio Department of Agency Director Ursel McElroy. “We hope to replace that with confidence.”
  • The second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are expected to begin being administered beginning on Friday.
  • The state is still targeting March 1 to have all students back in school.
  • DeWine said the state is still in Phase 1A of the vaccination plan for the state, which includes about 1 million Ohioans.
  • DeWine said in about 2 weeks the state plans to move into the Phase 1B, which includes Ohioans age 65 or older, K-12 teachers and staff, and those with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders. This accounts for about 2.21 million Ohioans.
  • DeWine said in the next week or so, he will be releasing the exact details on how the rollout of Phase 1B vaccinations will work.
  • Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said Ohio is “riding a very high wave of COVID-19.” He said both test positivity rates and hospitalizations are beginning to rise again after a decline leading into the holidays. Ohio has three times the hospitalizations it had on Nov. 1 and seven times the number from Oct. 1. “Our hospitals are extremely busy and we haven’t yet begun to see what the impact may be from the holiday,” Vanderhoff said.
  • Vanderhoff also discussed the UK variant of COVID-19. “Most virus variants aren’t very important because they don’t change the behavior of the virus,” Vanderhoff said. “The new UK variant of the virus is notable because it appears to be more contagious than other variants, but it doesn’t appear to be more severe or to impact those who are already immune.”
  • Vanderhoff said the variant will reach Ohio and it reinforces the need for masking, social distancing, avoiding crowds and washing hands and getting the vaccine when you are able.
  • The deadline for the Bar and Restaurant Fund has been extended to Jan. 31. There are still more than 4,600 permit holders eligible for the funding. “More than just bars and restaurants are eligible - movie theaters, bowling alleys, sports and concert venues, even some hair salons have eligible permits,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted said. “This is not competitive - if you are an on-premise liquor permit holder, you will receive the $2,500 assistance payment.” Permit holders can visit BusinessHelp.Ohio.gov to claim the funding.