(The Center Square) – The speed at which COVID-19 vaccine doses are becoming available to people in Ohio has taken two major steps.
Gov. Mike DeWine has announced the state will begin the process of working with local colleges and universities to offer vaccination clinics on campuses across the state. The clinics are expected to start next week with the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
All those 16 years old and older are eligible for the vaccine.
“Although young people are less likely to get sick from the coronavirus, they are significant carriers of the virus,” DeWine said. “By offering one-dose clinics on campus, students who wish to be vaccinated will have a nearby, convenient location to get the vaccine with their peers.”
The hope is to reach all Ohio college students before the school year ends in May.
At the same time, the state will begin working with private employers and other organizations to offer workplace vaccination clinics.
Vaccine providers will be allowed to use 25% of their allocation to vaccinate their own employees or to partner with local employers, labor unions and other organizations to provide vaccines at work.
Nearly 30% of Ohioans have received at least one dose of vaccine.
While availability of the vaccine throughout the state is growing, so are the number of cases and the spread of variants. The two-week case rate has risen by nearly 20 cases to 167.1 per 100,000. DeWine had said he would end all restrictions if the rate dropped to 50 per 100,000 over a two-week period.
“Ohio remains in a race against a virus that is now more contagious and right back on our heels,” said Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, chief medical officer of the Ohio Department of Health. “We can win this race as long as we don’t falter; as long as we press on with consistent masking and vaccination, especially in the light of the week’s important and encouraging research out of the CDC confirming that the vaccines are powerful protection against COVID-19 and its variants.”