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Frustration builds as vaccine doses can't meet demand for Ohioans 65 and older

Franklin, Marion and Ross County are not scheduling new appointments because of lack of supply.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans 65 years of age and older became eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine this week, but some health departments are not scheduling anyone in that age group due to a lack of supply.

If you were hoping to get a vaccine in Marion County on Monday, you would hear a voicemail from the local health department that said:  “Until further notice, we are at capacity and cannot schedule vaccination appointments or add names to a waitlist.”

If you were looking to get vaccinated in Franklin County, the health department tweeted “As everyone knows, vaccine supply is limited, which is why unfortunately, Franklin County public health will not be scheduling individuals 65 years of age or older the week of February 8th.”

Franklin County Public Health says it's not able to give shots to those 65 and older because it only has enough supplies to give second doses to frontline workers in tier 1A and to clients of the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities.

The same is true in Ross County where it shut down pre-registration at 5,000 people.

“We continue to work down that list based on age but in general we are not vaccinating 65 to 69-year-olds at this time just due to the limited vaccine normally we are only receiving 100 doses a week at this point,” said Garrett Guillozet, Health Commissioner at Ross County Health District.

Too much demand. Not enough supply. It's an issue that plagues Ohio as is it tries to vaccinate those who want the shot.

Since the start of vaccine distribution, the Ohio Department of Health has reminded vaccine providers that their allocation could change week to week.

Melanie Amato, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Health, says the vaccine is incredibly scarce and they simply do not have enough as more people become eligible and more providers are added to their list.

"Ohio is currently receiving roughly 170,000 vaccines each week. This allocation level will likely remain based on recent updates from our federal partners and we are hopeful vaccine supply will increase in the near future," Amato said.

Amato added that as the state spreads out the vaccine to providers, the number of doses they receive could be less than before.

“I'm frustrated like everybody else but I'm also it's a little de-settling that we are not the only ones in this situation,” Guillozet said.

Guillozet said the good news is that when it does get the vaccine, none of it is wasted.

The health district says while its supply of vaccine is low, local pharmacies and health centers are trying to vaccinate people as well.

But until more vaccines are made available the delay in getting shots into people's arms continues.

“We like, everyone else, would love to receive more vaccine. Unfortunately what we receive is what we get,” Guillozet said.