Coronavirus vaccine: When, who and how many will Ohio receive?

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine toured the Ohio Department of Health's Receipt, Store and Stage warehouse Nov. 30, 2020, to see the facility and review the process that will be used to redistribute the COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio.
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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine toured the Ohio Department of Health's Receipt, Store and Stage warehouse Nov. 30, 2020, to see the facility and review the process that will be used to redistribute the COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio.

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Gov. Mike DeWine gave an update on the coronavirus vaccine, saying Ohio is expected to receive a batch of 98,000 around Dec. 15.

The governor noted however, that plans are still being finalized.

“The federal government has made clear that we will not know for sure how many vaccines are coming until closer to the time the shipments are coming,” DeWine said.

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How many vaccines will Ohio get? And when?

Of the first batch of Pfizer vaccines received around Dec. 15, 9,750 will go to prepositioned sites at Ohio’s hospitals and anther 88,725 doses will go to Walgreens and CVS for congregate care settings.

On Dec. 22, the state is expected to get 201,000 Moderna vaccines. Those will go to 98 hospitals and 108 health departments, DeWine said. Hospitals will distribute the vaccine to those working with COVID-19 patients and health departments will vaccinate EMS workers and others, such as home health care workers.

The state is also anticipating a second shipment from Pfizer on Dec. 22. The “tentative” 123,000 doses will go to Walgreens and CVS for congregate care settings. DeWine noted the state is still working to confirm that number with Pfizer.

A few days later, Ohio is expected to get another 148,000 vaccines from Pfizer and 89,000 from Moderna.

DeWine noted that the second and third shipments from Pfizer have not been confirmed. He added that the state does not plan on holding back half the vaccines for people to get a second dose at this time. The Pfizer vaccine is a two-dose vaccine.

“There is a wait period,” DeWine said of the second dose. “So if you held them back, you’d be just sitting there with them and that would be the worst thing that we could do.”

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Who will get the vaccine first?

DeWine detailed the state’s Phase 1A of distribution priorities, with includes health care workers involved in the care of coronavirus patients, EMS responders and vulnerable individuals who live in close proximity and their caregivers.

Vulnerable individuals include residents and staff at nursing homes, assisted living centers and veteran homes; patients and staff at psychiatrics hospitals; and people with intellectual disabilities who live in group homes as well as staff.

The Ohio Department of Health is working with hospitals to create a guidance on how to prioritize distributing the vaccine and who should to receive it.

DeWine noted that the federal government has made it clear Ohio will not know how many vaccines are coming until days before the shipments are sent.

“This will be a work in progress,” he noted of the state’s vaccine plan. “It’s going to be continued to be fine-tuned.”

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What’s next?

The Pfizer vaccine is schedule to have its data reviewed by a group of independent group on non-government employed scientists and expects at the FDA on Dec. 10, said Joseph Gastaldo, system medical director of infectious diseases at Ohio Health.

If the FDA approves the vaccine, the data will then go before another group of independent doctors and experts at the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

Both review meetings will be open to the public, Gastaldo said.

If the CDC gives its recommendation, the vaccine will available for Americans.

“As a person of science, as an infectious disease physician and a former pharmacist, I have the utmost confidence in the outlined review process,” Gastaldo said.

When DeWine noted that some people are concerned that the vaccine has been approved too fast, Gastaldo noted that the studies behind the coronavirus vaccine were done in a more efficient way.

“Back in the spring the federal government introduced Operation Warped Speed as coming up with a more efficient way to get a vaccine out there knowing that we are in a pandemic,” he said. “The way the studies are done for approval is the exact same way we have done with previous vaccines.”

Gastaldo noted that the review process of the FDA and CDC is the same way it’s been done for years.

ODH and Ohio National Guard have been running practice drills to prepare for the vaccine’s arrival. The drills include repackaging the vaccine and packing it into dry ice within two minutes and then delivering the shipments within six hours.

The state selected 10 locations, including Springfield Regional Medical Center, across the state to receive and distribute the vaccine. The sites were chosen based on geography, population and access to ultra-cold storage capacity.