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Ohio's COVID-19 vaccination program: Here's what you need to know

Once Ohio begins providing vaccines next week to everyone 65 and older, the state will hold at that level for several weeks.
Credit: Franklin County Public Health
File photo

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Phase 1B of the state's COVID-19 vaccine program is underway. It focuses largely on those who are 65 and older.

People in this age group are most vulnerable to COVID-19 and make up more than 87% of Ohioans who have died from the virus, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

The phase also includes K-12 teachers and other school staff who will be offered the vaccine in an effort to get children back into the classroom as soon as possible. In total, Phase 1B includes an estimated 2.2 million people

Phase 1B Timing

  • The week of Jan. 19: Ohioans 80 years of age and older.
  • The week of Jan. 25: Ohioans 75 years of age and older; those with severe congenital or developmental disorders.
  • The week of Feb. 1: Ohioans 70 years of age and older; employees of K-12 schools that wish to remain or return to in-person or hybrid models.
  • The week of Feb. 8: Ohioans 65 years of age and older

Once Ohio begins providing vaccines next week to everyone 65 and older, the state will hold at that level for several weeks because that age group is so large, at about 2 million.

A list of providers offering the vaccine in each county is posted by the Ohio Department of Health at this link.

Future Phases:

The vaccine distribution plan for future priority populations are still under development, according to ODH. As more information becomes available on who can receive the vaccine and when they can receive the vaccine, the state says they will announce the details and post the information at coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.

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COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

Information provided by Ohio Department of Health

Are COVID-19 vaccines effective?

Yes. Evidence shows that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and work to prevent COVID-19. Of the first two vaccines to be granted FDA emergency use authorization, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 95% effective and the Moderna vaccine was 94% effective in phase 3 clinical trials with more than 70,000 participants between the two studies. Although the COVID-19 vaccines have been developed recently, the technology used in mRNA vaccines, like those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, has been studied for decades.

When will the other distribution phases begin?

As vaccine supply increases, Ohio will continue to vaccinate Ohioans who choose to receive the vaccine. The speed at which Ohio will move through the phases depends on the number of vaccines available.

Will my children be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is currently recommended for patients age 16 and up, and the Moderna vaccine is currently recommended for patients age 18 and up. As more information becomes available on children and COVID-19 vaccines from the FDA, CDC, and vaccine manufacturers, it will be made available at coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.

Will Ohio make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?

No. The vaccine will be available, as supplies allow, to all Ohioans who choose to receive the vaccine.

Who is paying for the COVID-19 vaccine?

If you choose to get a COVID-19 vaccine, you will not have to pay. Vaccine doses purchased with taxpayer dollars will be given to Ohioans who choose to receive them at no out-of-pocket cost. Vaccine providers will be able to charge an administration fee for giving the shot to someone. Providers can get this fee reimbursed by the patient’s public or private insurance company or, for uninsured patients, by the federal Health Resources & Services Administration’s Provider Relief Fund.

If I already had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available?

Yes, COVID-19 vaccination should be offered to you regardless of whether or not you already had COVID-19. You should not be required to have an antibody test before you are vaccinated. However, anyone currently infected with COVID-19 should wait to get vaccinated until after their illness has resolved and after they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation. The timing for each vaccination phase is limited, so if you have been released from the isolation period, and are in an eligible audience, you should consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine as vaccination clinics become available to you.

What is the difference between an emergency use authorization (EUA) and an approval from the FDA?

An Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) authorizes the use of an unapproved medical product, or unapproved use of an approved medical product, for use during a public health emergency if the benefits of its use outweigh any known or potential risks. Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines have been granted EUA following rigorous review. In the past, EUAs have been issued for products, devices, and drugs related to Ebola, H1N1, Zika, and others. The EUAs are valid until the pandemic is over, the FDA revokes the EUAs, or the products are approved for traditional licensure by the FDA. The FDA closely monitors each vaccine for safety after the EUA is issued. Drug manufacturers are encouraged to obtain traditional FDA licensed vaccine approval as soon as possible.