COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Starting Thursday, more than 940,000 more Ohioans will be eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine as Phase 1-C begins.
That opens eligibility up to certain professions or people with certain medical conditions.
Phase 2 begins Thursday as well, allowing anyone 60-years-old and older to become eligible – adding nearly 700,000 Ohioans.
This is a step many people in this age group have been waiting a long time for, and some saying they have already scheduled their appointments.
“I’m excited,” said John Kinney. “I’ve been looking forward to it. It’s just one step towards normalcy.”
Gov. Mike DeWine announced earlier this week that it would be a big day when it comes to expanding vaccine eligibility.
Approximately 246,000 people are eligible in Phase 1-C, but Phase 2 will add 695,000 Ohians.
Two people part of Phase 2 said there was a big sense of relief when they found out they’re eligible for the shot.
“I was happy and thought, ‘Oh, now I got to start,’” Kinney said. “’I’ll be one of these guys that’s got to get up at 4 o’clock in the morning and try to get one a website,’ but I got a text yesterday from my daughter that I was booked.”
Kinney isn’t the only one looking forward to being vaccinated.
“I’m thrilled, I was just thrilled,” said Bob Sloan. “I thought it was going to be at least until the end of March or April before I could get the vaccine.”
Living alone, Sloan said he’s often felt isolated over the past year and hasn’t been doing most of the things he did pre-pandemic.
“I want to get active again,” he said. “I want to start volunteering again, I want to be involved with my friends and travel. I just retired and I don’t want to stay home. I want to get out.”
Sloan’s appointment is in about a week.
“No hesitancy,” Sloan said. “Everybody I know has gotten it, so I’m excited to be added to the list.”
Kinney said he’s been going to work every day as the manager of a local pawn shop. The fact he’s registered is bringing him relief, too.
“It’s what we’ve been looking for,” he said. “This last year, we’ve been hoping for the vaccine so we can move just a little bit more towards getting back to the way things used to be.”