Ohio plans to roll out a coronavirus vaccine in four phases and give the first doses to high-risk health care workers and first responders, according to a draft plan released by the state’s health department (Source: “Ohio’s four-phase plan to distribute coronavirus vaccine prioritizes health care workers and first responders,” Cleveland.com, Oct. 21).
The first phase of the plan also prioritizes patients in long-term care facilities and those at significantly higher risk for developing severe COVID-19 complications due to preexisting conditions, according to the draft plan dated Oct. 16. The state submitted the 61-page plan to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for approval.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has yet to issue emergency use authorization for any COVID-19 vaccine candidate, although public health experts say one could be approved later this fall. But the CDC has cautioned a vaccine could be in short supply after it’s approved because it takes time to manufacture, ship and distribute enough doses.
The second phase of the draft plan calls for the vaccine to be given to health care workers and other essential services workers who are at high risk for exposure. It also includes teachers and school staff members; older Ohioans; and residents with preexisting conditions. People of color, who have been disproportionately harmed by the virus, could also be prioritized during phase two.
The third phase includes young adults; children; and workers in unspecified industries that are critical to the functioning of society. The fourth phase allows all Ohioans to be vaccinated. The plan does not include a timeline for each phase.