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Ohio online vaccine scheduling tool still 2-3 weeks away

Once the tool is live, Ohioans can enter their zip code and find appointments within 20 miles.
Credit: Franklin County Public Health
File photo

The rollout of an online vaccine appointment scheduling tool is still two to three weeks away as the state recruits providers such as pharmacies, hospitals, health clinics and others to participate, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.

Once the tool is live, Ohioans can enter their zip code and find appointments within 20 miles.

“Our goal is for Ohioans to have a positive customer experience when we launch, to make these appointments,” DeWine said.

The state is also working with groups such as the Area Agencies on Aging to help Ohioans who don't have Internet access schedule coronavirus vaccines.

As of Tuesday, more than 1.3 million Ohioans, or about 11% of the population, had received at least the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine, according to health department data. Ohio is now focused on vaccinating people 65 and older, a population of 2 million that’s expected to take several weeks.

Also Tuesday, the governor:

— Said that the number of fully remote schools has dropped to about 15%, down from about 47% at the beginning of January. DeWine has made it clear he expects schools to return most students to in-person classes by March 1, as part of commitments that districts made in exchange for getting prioritized vaccines.

— Threatened to veto the latest effort by fellow GOP lawmakers to pass legislation that would override emergency health orders. The new attempt, a Senate bill scheduled for a possible committee vote Wednesday, would rescind executive actions taken by a governor or the state health department through a concurrent resolution, which requires a simple majority from the House and Senate. DeWine vetoed a similar bill last year. He said he believes the new legislation is unconstitutional and would have far-reaching consequences beyond the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re not out of this yet. We cannot declare victory,” the governor said, adding: “So, this is not the time for us to be cutting our authority or the health department’s authority.”

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Ohio did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 4,346 new cases per day on Feb. 1 to 2,732 new cases per day on Feb. 15, according to an Associated Press analysis of data provided The COVID Tracking Project.