By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS Associated Press
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio will receive nearly 450,000 doses of the coronavirus vaccine this week thanks to the approval of a third vaccine, and the state is expanding eligible recipients to people 60 and over, pregnant women, day care workers, and police officers, among others, Gov. Mike DeWine said Monday.
The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday cleared a Johnson & Johnson shot that works with just one dose instead of two. Mike DeWine said the state will receive 96,100 doses of the vaccine this week.
That will bring to 448,390 total doses available this week in Ohio including Moderna and Pfizer vaccines the state was already scheduled to receive.
The federal government has told Ohio that supplies of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will dip after this week, though the exact number isn’t known.
Supplies of the third vaccine will be distributed to hospitals, local health departments and more than 200 independent pharmacies statewide.
As the amount of vaccine expands in Ohio, the state is also adding close to a million people to the eligibility list beginning Thursday. Those with medical conditions such as Type I diabetes and ALS and those undergoing bone marrow transplants will now be eligible.
Eligibility was also expanded to funeral home workers, law enforcement officers including prison guards, probation officers, firefighters, pregnant women, and daycare employees.
People 60 and over will also be eligible starting Thursday after nearly a month in which the age limit was kept at 65 and older, a group of about 2 million people. Age continues to drive the state’s eligibility decisions because the vast majority of deaths have come in older people, the governor said.
“Age is going to continue to be our dominant indicator,” DeWine said.
DeWine said about 200,000 school employees received the vaccine ahead of Monday’s deadline for the resumption of in-person learning, out of about 300,000 employees.
More than 1.6 million people in Ohio, or 14% of the population, have received at least one dose of the vaccine as of Monday, according to the state Health Department. Ohio now has about 1,200 vaccine locations, and the governor said an announcement is coming soon about more mass vaccination sites.
The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 2,733 new cases per day on Feb. 14 to 1,951 new cases per day on Feb. 28, according to an Associated Press analysis of date provided by The COVID Tracking Project.
Also Monday, DeWine made reference to the pandemic as he commemorated Ohio Statehood Day. Ohio became the 17th state of the United States of America in 1803, and March 1 is the day that the state’s General Assembly met for the first time.
“Although year 217 was a tough one, we’re on the road to a better 218th year,” DeWine tweeted.