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Slow shot rollout most dangerous for our elderly

We know that older people are much more likely than younger ones to have their lives cut short by COVID-19. It is a disease they preys primarily on the elderly.

Here in Ohio, state officials have made vaccinating older people against the virus a top priority. Residents of nursing homes already are being inoculated.

What about older people who are not in long-term care centers? They are down the vaccine priority list from tens of thousands of other, often younger, people in our states. And that doesn’t even take into account the challenges Ohio has been facing in obtaining enough vaccinations.

While about 2.2 million Ohioans are in the next group to get the COVID-19 vaccine, Gov. Mike DeWine recently said there simply aren’t enough doses to take care of those people for quite some time.

The state has about 100,000 doses — the vaccine is given in two doses — for those at least 65 years old, K-12 teachers and staff at schools that are full-time or want to be, as well as those with severe, congenital and developmental disorders. Vaccines for these people will start soon, he said.

But among those groups are 2.2 million people with 1.8 million being those in the 65-and-older age category.

“We’re going to be doing this for a long time,” he said. “This is not going to happen overnight. It’s going to take longer than I want.”

Ensuring certain people, such as those in the health care professions, remain healthy to take care of the rest of us makes sense. In general, there is no argument with vaccine priorities in our state.

Still, it is likely that even with rescue from the disease in sight, some older Ohioans will contract COVID-19 — and perish from it before their turns to get the shots come. Sadly, this virus is showing little signs of slowing.

We urge — not encourage, but plead with — officials in both our states to do all they can to speed up the process of protecting older people against the virus. Anything that can be done in that regard will save lives, beyond any doubt.

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