Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced today that Ohio will offer the Covid-19 vaccine to anyone 40 and older starting on Friday and promised to expand to anyone over the age of 16 on March 29.
Dewine said during a news conference today that anyone with cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, or obesity, will also be eligible for the vaccine on Friday.
The two new eligibility groups means that “about 1.6 million new Ohioans” will be eligible for a vaccine shot on Friday, according to DeWine.
DeWine was in Cleveland announcing the opening of Ohio’s first FEMA-coordinated mass Covid-19 vaccination clinic, located at Cleveland State University’s Wolstein Center.
The location is able to handle 1,500 people per day now but, “assuming that everything is working fine,” in several days it will be vaccinating 6,000 people per day, according to DeWine.
Cuyahoga County Executive, Armond Budish, stressed the location’s role in reaching communities of color and minorities at the press conference.
Budish said that state vaccine registration data for the Wolstein Center shows that “people of color, specifically Black and brown people, are registering at a much lower rate than white people.”
“That has to change, it comes down to a matter of life and death,” he said.
Budish said that the reason for the disparity comes down to barriers in getting to the location as well as a lack of trust in the government.
Budish said that the county is working with local organizations like the Urban League, the NAACP, as well as churches and community centers, to try and overcome the distrust.