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All Ohioans Over Age 16 Eligible For COVID Vaccine On March 29

Ohio State University clinic manager Paige Blankenship, left, administers one of the first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to Osvaldo Campanella Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.
Jay LaPrete
/
Associated Press
Ohio State University clinic manager Paige Blankenship, left, administers one of the first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines to Osvaldo Campanella Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Columbus, Ohio.

Gov. Mike DeWine has announced the coronavirus vaccine will be available for anyone over the age of 16 by month's end.

Speaking Tuesday at a new mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland's Wolstein Center, DeWine said that residents 40 and older will be eligible beginning Friday, March 19. Also newly eligible will be patients who have cancer, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic kidney disease and obesity.

"Between these two eligibility groups, it's about 1.6 million new Ohioans who will now be eligible," DeWine said.

People who have these medical conditions, including obesity, do not have to show any certification proving their status, he added.

Anyone 16 and older will be eligible for the vaccine on March 29. DeWine says the expansion is warranted with a significant increase in vaccine doses expected soon.

President Biden announced last week that he wanted states to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults by the beginning of May, a deadline that Ohio officials said they were already "on track" to meet. Currently, none of the three vaccines being distributed – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – are approved by the FDA for patients under 16.

"The FDA emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines only covers individuals ages 18 and older," DeWine said.

DeWine says there is a moral imperative to move as quickly as possible to vaccinate all Ohioans who want a shot.

So far, about 2.4 million Ohioans have received their first dose of the vaccine, about 20% of the population, according to state data. Just under 1.4 million residents (12% of the population) are fully vaccinated.

Approximately 1,500 Ohioans will be vaccinated at Cleveland State University's federal mass vaccination site Tuesday during its soft opening. The clinic will ramp up to vaccinating 6,000 Ohioans per day, possibly by the end of the week.

Other mass clinics scheduled in various cities in Ohio should be up and running by the end of the month, DeWine said.

What questions do you have about COVID-19 and the vaccines? Ask below and WOSU may answer as part of our series A Year Of COVID.

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