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Shortage of vaccine plagues Ohio

One month after the state rolled out its COVID-19 vaccinations, it has given a first dose to a mere 3.09 percent of Ohio’s population.

And Gov. Mike DeWine acknowledged Thursday there aren’t enough COVID-19 vaccinations for even the state’s oldest and most vulnerable residents.

“The big picture on vaccines is this: We don’t have enough,” he said.

The state will start Tuesday vaccinating those at least 80 years old. That group accounts for 53 percent of the state’s COVID-19 fatalities.

About 420,000 people are in that age group, but only about 100,000 first-dose COVID-19 vaccinations will be available for them next week. Two doses of the vaccination, about four weeks apart, are needed. The state began vaccinations Dec. 14.

“There’s not going to be enough next week for everybody,” DeWine said.

Or for quite a while.

The Ohio Department of Health reported 361,603 total first-dose vaccinations given in the state as of 6 a.m. Thursday, including 22,875 in the previous 24 hours.

That’s 3.09 percent of the population during the first month of vaccinations — and that’s only the first of two doses.

“We don’t have enough vaccines in Ohio right now, but we hope our allotment will increase in the future,” DeWine said. “But, as of right now, we must deal with the scarcity.”

DeWine said the goal is to eventually vaccinate everyone in the state who wants it, but “we’re not there yet.”

He doesn’t have a timeline for vaccinating all Ohioans who want it.

DeWine said as of last Sunday, 72 percent of the total vaccines in the state were used. He wants that percentage to be 85.

“It’s frustrating and it’s complicated,” he said.

Those vaccinated to date are health care workers and personnel routinely involved with COVID-19 patients, emergency medical responders and those living and / or working in congregate settings, such as nursing homes and assisted-living facilities.

Some offered the vaccine have declined it.

Ohio moves Tuesday to the next group of people starting with those at least 80 years of age.

Those at least 75 years of age as well as those who are younger with severe congenital, developmental or early-onset medical disorders are eligible for the vaccine Jan. 25.

Those age 70 and older as well as adults at K-12 schools that have in-person or partial in-person instruction or plan to go that route are scheduled to start being vaccinated Feb. 1.

The week of Feb. 8 is when those at least 65 years of age are anticipated to be eligible for the vaccine.

There are about 2.2 million people between seniors, those with medical disorders and K-12 staff.

Mahoning County is slightly above the state’s 3.09 percent vaccination amount, while Trumbull and Columbiana counties are behind it.

As of Thursday, 3.12 percent of Mahoning’s population (7,131 people) received the first dose while 2.19 percent of Trumbull’s population (4,328 people) and 2.46 percent of Columbiana’s population (2,506 people) got it.

COVID-19 NUMBERS

All three counties remained at Level 3 (red) on the Ohio Public Advisory System. There are only four counties in the state at Level 2 (orange) and Hamilton County (Cincinnati) rose Thursday to Level 4 (purple).

However, the Valley’s COVID-19 cases per capita are among the lowest in the state.

The latest ODH data, which goes from Dec. 30 to Tuesday, shows Columbiana as having the 64th highest rate out of the state’s 88 counties at 667.4 cases per 100,000 residents.

Mahoning is 73rd with 602.6 cases per 100,000 and Trumbull is 85th with 460.7 cases per 100,000.

The state exceeded 800,000 total COVID-19 cases Thursday and will exceed 10,000 deaths today.

The ODH reported 807,293 total COVID-19 cases in Ohio as of Thursday with 663,856 presumed recovered and 9,990 deaths.

The increase in new cases reported Thursday was 7,654, which is higher than the daily average of 7,316 for the past 21 days.

There were 109 reported deaths Thursday, higher than the daily average of 73 for the past 21 days.

Among those 109 deaths were eight in Mahoning, two in Trumbull and one in Columbiana counties.

Between Dec. 16 and Jan. 8, Mahoning reported three COVID-19 deaths. In the past six days, it’s reported 19 deaths.

It’s even worse in Trumbull County. Of the 297 COVID-19 deaths in that county since the start of the pandemic in March, 147 of them — 49.5 percent — have been reported since Dec. 1.

The ODH listed 12,096 COVID-19 cases in Trumbull as of Thursday with 10,358 presumed recovered.

In Mahoning County, the ODH reported 16,430 total COVID-19 cases as of Thursday with 13,875 presumed recovered and 334 fatalities.

The state reported 6,922 total cases in Columbiana County as of Thursday with 5,810 presumed recovered and 124 deaths.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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