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15 Mass vaccination sites opening up across Ohio

COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine announced another advance in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic Friday, with news that 15 long-term mass vaccination clinics will open throughout Ohio to expand access to the shots.

The state-sponsored mass vaccination clinics will be located in Lima, Maumee, Dayton, Columbus, Akron, Youngstown, Cincinnati, Chillicothe, Marietta, Wilmington and Zanesville. Four mobile mass vaccination clinics will also make rounds in the areas of northwestern and west-central Ohio (Ada), southeastern Ohio (Athens), north-central Ohio (Mansfield), and east-central Ohio (Steubenville).

DeWine also said an eight-week mass vaccination clinic will open March 17 at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center.

“Mass vaccination clinics have always been part of our plan, but adequate supply is necessary for larger sites, so it was crucial that we first established local provider sites in all 88 counties to ensure that every citizen in every community has a provider nearby,” DeWine said. “Now that we have more than 1,250 local vaccine providers and a significant increase in vaccine supply expected at the end of March, this is the right time to finalize and prepare to launch these large-scale regional clinics.”

The regional mass vaccination clinics, which will begin opening in the coming weeks as supply becomes available, will operate until they are no longer necessary. They will be locally operated with support from the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio Emergency Management Agency. Clinics will be equipped to administer between 300 and 3,000 vaccines a day depending on location, supply and demand.

Ohio’s established vaccine providers can also expect to see an increase in their vaccine allotment as supply increases, and vaccine doses may also be allotted to new providers.

Any Ohioan who is eligible to receive the vaccine under the Ohio Department of Health’s vaccination plan may go to one of the clinics. This covers seniors citizens age 60 or older, as well as people with medical conditions that could exacerbate the virus, people working in law enforcement, as corrections officers, child care professionals and funeral employees.

DeWine also stressed the importance of ensuring equitable access for high-risk residents and medically underserved communities that could be disproportionately impacted by the virus.

Several appointment-scheduling options will be available, including the use of Ohio’s forthcoming central scheduling system for some sites. The sites are not yet taking reservations, but specific instructions on how to book an appointment will be announced later this month. Dates of operation and hours will vary, but sites will offer both weekday and weekend appointments.

DeWine also announced 50,000 doses of Pfizer vaccine will be dedicated to two pop-up mass vaccination sites in Columbus and Cincinnati. The pop-up clinics will open shortly after the March 17 start date of Cleveland’s mass vaccination site and will offer 12,500 first doses at each location. Those vaccinated during the Columbus and Cincinnati pop-up mass vaccination sites will be guaranteed a second dose. Exact site locations are pending.

The 50,000 vaccine doses for these pop-up mass vaccination clinics were initially required by the federal government to be set aside for use in Ohio’s more than 2,400 long-term care facilities as part of the federal long-term care program. Ohio was one of the first states to begin drawing from the unused long-term care vaccine supply to provide vaccines for the general population. Ohio has already administered nearly 160,000 reallocated doses from the program to the public.

A complete list of the selected regional mass vaccination clinic sites and associated local partners can be found at governor.ohio.gov.

For more information on Ohio’s vaccination plan, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov/vaccine.

Belmont County Deputy Health Commissioner Robert Sproul said the mobile unit in Steubenville could also benefit Belmont County.

“It appears they will help to supplement our activities. The mobile unit will be based in Jefferson, but we are being told it will travel to other counties,” Sproul said. “We are planning to work with them.”

Sproul said Belmont County has had 5,362 confirmed cases since the pandemic arrived a year ago. A total of 192 residents are isolated at home with active infections, and 64 are hospitalized with the virus. There have been 5,005 recoveries, and 101 residents have died while infected with the virus.

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