ATHENS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is continuing his push for every college student in the state to get a vaccine before the end of their school year.
For students at Ohio University, that deadline is coming up fast — the last day of classes set for just two weeks from now on April 24.
“This really is your ticket to freedom,” DeWine said. “It’s your ticket to a great summer. For the state, vaccinating people is a ticket to get back to normal.”
To aid in meeting that goal with a looming deadline, students will be able to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which only requires one dose, whereas other vaccines would require students to wait 21-28 days for a second shot, time they might not have.
“The program that we have going on now, particularly with the one shot, is ideal at this point in time where students are coming in at the end of their semester, one shot, and then distributing back over the state of Ohio and beyond,” said Ken Johnson, chief medical affairs officer for Ohio University.
DeWine said recent issues with the Johnson & Johnson vaccine wouldn’t impact the state’s goals.
“We have, by-and-large, been able to allocate the Johnson & Johnson to college campuses,” DeWine said. “We face the problem other states face and that is the amount of Johnson & Johnson has crashed, at least for a few weeks. That is the reality. I can’t change that, but we made a strategic decision to use the Johnson & Johnson for college students. We have enough to do that.”
DeWine said the college push is also important as case numbers start to rise again after plateauing for months.
“Where are we seeing the uptick? The part of our population that hasn’t been vaccinated and that is our young people,” DeWine said. “Although throughout this, our impression has been, the facts have been that young people are less likely to die, they’re less likely to get sick. The fact is we do have young people today in Ohio who are in hospitals because of COVID.”
DeWine said despite only a third of the state starting the process, vaccine supply is starting to meet or exceed demand in some areas.
With our neighbors to the north in Michigan dealing with the worst outbreak of COVID-19 in the country currently, DeWine said he’d be comfortable with the federal government sending a surge of vaccine there.
“I think every state should get the same based on population, except for the fact if there is a real surge going on in a state, the federal government should step and reallocate some vaccine there,” DeWine said. “It makes sense in the long run for not just people in Michigan, for people in every state. Put the fire out where the fire is.”