Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Monday that all Ohioans age 50 and older and those with type 2 diabetes or end-stage renal disease will become eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine beginning Thursday, March 11.
While Ohio lowered the eligibility age last week, the decision to decrease the age requirements even further was done following conversations with state health commissioners who urged DeWine to broaden the groups of people who can be vaccinated. Some counties, DeWine said, couldn't find enough demand to distribute all allocated vaccines each week under the current requirements.
Under the new rules, more than 1.2 million Ohioans will become eligible for a vaccine, DeWine said.
The Ohio Department of Health on Monday also launched an online, centralized vaccine scheduling application to help residents more easily make an appointment.
The state is requiring all vaccine providers to schedule patients appointments using the application or a system that interfaces with the ODH portal. The system will also be used to schedule appointments related to the mass vaccination program announced last week, including the mobile unit hosted by Ohio University to serve the region.
“We believe this will streamline the scheduling process, reduce data lags and provide real-time information on vaccination progress across the state,” DeWine said.
As of Monday afternoon, 15 percent of Athens County’s population has received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine.
New cases of COVID-19 in Athens County are the lowest they’ve been in months and continue to fall further each day, according to an Athens NEWS database of local data. There are 4,671 total known cases of COVID-19 in Athens County, with 201 active, according to The Athens City-County Health Department.