COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — As work continues on a coronavirus vaccine, the Ohio Department of Health is also working on a plan to distribute it.
State officials will order the vaccine once it’s available and distribute it to counties and providers who will then release it in four phases.
Phase one would include healthcare workers, first responders and older adults in nursing homes.
Phase two includes teachers, people of all ages with underlying conditions, prison staff and inmates.
Phase three includes young adults, children, and “workers important to the function of society”
Finally, phase four would be everyone else.
“It will be a significant undertaking but the good news is this is what public health does. We plan and we exercise for these types of vaccination efforts every year,” said Joe Mazolla, Franklin County Public Health commissioner. “Clearly we’re going to be making sure that we’re reaching out to our residents who, have comorbidities, underlying health conditions, those who are 60 and over, etc. Again, this will be based on the state’s guidance.”
Some residents are wary about a vaccine rollout given how other parts of the pandemic response have gone
“I think testing hasn’t been as robust as it could be or should be and my question is would we be able to actually get people vaccinated with enough speed and effectiveness,” said Truman Haycock of Columbus. “I mean if I’m able to get a vaccine and it’s cheap and available, I’ll certainly take it.”
The state’s plan would be frontline workers at the front of the line for a vaccine but one nurse says ‘no thanks’.
“I don’t want to take it. “ don’t wanna die! That’s my concern: I don’t want to die,” said Carlotta Smith of Columbus. ” I don’t want to be no guinea pig. Absolutely not.”
Smith says she believes the process was rushed and politics are involved.
“I want to see Trump take it first. I want to see him take it and see how he does with it,” she said.
With multiple vaccine candidates in the final phase of testing, it remains unclear how many could be approved, which one Ohio would order and how many doses would be available.
Initial doses are expected to be in short supply.
“There’s a lot of unanswered questions there, but I think the general assumption is it will be of limited quantity and we’re going to make sure whatever that quantity looks like, that we take all the necessary steps to make sure that vaccine gets administered as quickly as possible,” Mazzola said.
That uncertainty has some people approaching a vaccine with cautious optimism.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be a miracle cure but it will be the first real step toward getting our lives back to normal,” Haycock said. “We’ve all sacrificed a lot of our normal lives and traditions since Spring, and I don’t expect it to expect it to have any actual effect until this coming Spring.”