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  • Kandis Mascall

COVID-19 Vaccinations Mere Weeks Away for Ohioans, If Approved

December is the month that Ohioans can possibly expect to see a COVID-19 vaccine, the exact date being December 15th, according to Governor Mike DeWine. But this only happens once the vaccines are approved by the Food and Drug Administration. There is currently no FDA-approved or authorized vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19.

In a Friday press conference, DeWine outlined the plan for distribution, stating that healthcare workers responsible for caring for Covid patients will be some of the first to receive the vaccine in Phase 1A of the plan.

Graphic provided by Ohio Dept. of Health

The first shipment to be expected is 9,750 units of the Pfizer vaccine, which is likely to be the first vaccine to get approval and will be sent to 98 hospitals. Three days before Christmas, those same hospitals are also expected to receive 201,000 shipments of the Moderna vaccine and another shipment of the Pfizer vaccine, a tentative 123,000 units.

The shipment and distribution of the Pfizer vaccine will be a tricky process, as it is required to be stored in temperatures nearly 100 degrees below 0. For this task, the Ohio National Guard has answered the call and is already conducting drills for delivery according to DeWine.

As Ohioans anxiously await approval, the spread of coronavirus shows no sign of slowing down in the buckeye state, "We're reporting 10,114 new cases. That is our highest number in over a week and fourth-highest ever," said DeWine.

The rise in cases and hospitalizations have placed immense pressure on health care systems, including the Dayton-based Kettering Health Network, where 18-20% of the inpatients are coronavirus patients. While capacity isn't an issue, it is the healthcare workers who are being stretched thin, according to Terry Burns, the chief operating officer for Kettering Health Network.

Dr. Rosalind Jackson, who specializes in functional medicine, operates a private practice at Kettering Health Network's Sycamore Medical Center. She says her practice has been approved to administer doses of the coronavirus vaccine once they become available, "We will be receiving the second wave of doses and will be able to innoculate those who want the vaccine," said Dr. Jackson.

The day before Thanksgiving, Montgomery County moved to the highest risk level for coronavirus, Level 4 or Purple. This level is defined as a county with severe exposure and spread. Those in a purple county are strongly advised to only leave home for supplies and services.