Right now, in Ohio, you must be 40 years old or have a qualifying medical condition or occupation to get a COVID-19 vaccine. But Gov. Mike DeWine is giving clinics permission to override those eligibility requirements.
DeWine says some health departments and other providers are having trouble filling all of their slots with people who qualify. So, if that’s the case, he’s telling them they can expand into the next category. He says he doesn’t want any slots to go unfilled and doesn’t want vaccines just sitting there.
"We are not changing the times. We are not changing when we will switch over to 16 and above. That will occur next week," DeWine says.
He says it is up to the clinics to decide whether they need to expand eligibility to fill the schedule.
This means anyone over 16 might be able to get a vaccine before March 29th, when the age is officially lowered. At that point, anyone 16 or above will be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines but those under 18 will be limited to getting the Pfizer shots.
How do you know if the clinic has Pfizer, the vaccine authorized for those under 18? Dan Tierney with DeWine’s office has one easy answer.
“One option is to use the mass vaccination sites coming up,” Tierney says.
Tierney says the public is given information ahead of time about which vaccines are being used at those mass vaccination clinics.
There has also been demand for thesingle-dose J&J vaccine that’s become hard to find. Tierney says J&J vaccines are in short supply now but he expects larger shipments in the next couple of weeks.
More than 30,000 people have been vaccinated at the federal mass vaccination clinic at Cleveland the Wolstein Center in Cleveland.
There are 15 state run vaccine clinics throughout the state. The one in Columbus is serving 6000 shots per day.
Appointments can be scheduled by visiting gettheshot.coronavirus.ohio.gov. or by calling 1-833-427-5634 (1-833-4-ASK-ODH).