Local health departments have been tasked with prioritizing underserved and minority populations when distributing the state's limited number of COVID-19 vaccines, Gov. Mike DeWine said at the coronavirus update on Tuesday, Feb. 2.
"The pandemic has highlighted inequities in our healthcare system," DeWine said. "There are Ohioans who simply do not have equal access to healthcare."
Vaccine education targeted at minority communities is planned with a series of virtual town halls beginning in mid-February, and vaccines are set to go to 60 health centers serving highly vulnerable neighborhoods this week, the governor said.
Ursel McElroy, director of the state department of aging, said six vaccination events are scheduled to take place next week in affordable housing locations around the state.
"This approach will make it possible for us to take the vaccines directly to people's homes," McElroy said.
DeWine also reported that a batch of vaccines administered to assisted living facilities in Cleveland, East Cleveland, Chardon, Ashtabula and Kingsville was not kept at the proper temperature and subsequently those vaccinations will have to be repeated.
The vaccinations were "erroneously administered" and should not have been used because of the uncertainty of the cold storage, said Ohio's chief medical director, Dr. Bruce Vanderoff.
Earlier in the day,DeWine and his wife, Fran, were given the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine. Both the governor and the first lady are more than 70 years old, making them eligible for inoculation this week. The state's vaccination eligibility lowers to Ohioans 65 years and older on Feb. 8 and will hold at that age group for weeks, DeWine said.
In Ohio, 29,069 people were vaccinated in the last 24 hours, which brings the total to 882,796, representing 7.5% of the state's population, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
The push to get more vaccines to minority communities comes as Ohio has reported a total of 902,736 coronavirus case as of Tuesday, Feb. 2. Daily case counts, including 3,657 reported on Tuesday, dipped below 5,000 for the fourth straight day.