Central Ohio doctor encouraged by Biden’s vaccine goals


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — President Joe Biden is shifting focus on the COVID-19 vaccine front and has new goals for Americans.

Dr. Joseph Gastaldo with OhioHealth said Biden’s goals are great to have and this is really where the shift needs to happen here in Ohio as well.

“Our goal by July 4th is to have 70 percent of adult Americans with at least one shot and 160 million Americans fully vaccinated,” Biden said. 

Biden is focusing on three different concepts for the vaccine rollout — supplying pediatrician offices with vaccine when and if the FDA approves Pfizer for 12 to 15 year olds, tackling hesitancy, and having pharmacies do walk-in vaccinations.

“Operationally, it is going to be challenging,” Gastaldo said.

He supports these initiatives, saying there needs to be a plan for those pharmacies and potential waste of unused vaccines.

“Think of a rural community where you have a walk-in clinic where only two people show up,” Gastaldo said. “Are you going to sacrifice a vial of 10 doses? What is the operational plan where pharmacies that are further apart can share their doses, so nothing is wasted.”

State officials have said they are worried about the vaccination rate slowing down here in Ohio. As of Tuesday, 40.5 percent of residents have started the vaccine process, and 33 percent of Ohioans are fully vaccinated.

The president said the government is working on incentives in order to entice people to get the vaccine.

“Things like ticket giveaways, in-stadium vaccination programs, discounts on merchandise and other creative ways to make it more fun to get vaccinated,” Biden said.

Gastaldo said along with breaking barriers for appointments, the next step is more outreach.

“Engage everybody from a vantage point of caring and understand,” he said.

The president also announced new ways to search for vaccines that are in stock near you. There’s a new website as well as a number — 438829 (GETVAX) — where you can text your zip code and find vaccine locations near you.

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