COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio is picking up the pace of COVID-19 vaccinations.
In mid-January, Ohio ranked last among all states when comparing the percentage of population that had received both doses of a vaccine. The Buckeye State now ranks 36th, according to data kept by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dan Tierney, the press secretary for Gov. Mike DeWine, attributed the gained ground Ohio’s approach of targeting individual groups for vaccination each week.
Still, a Columbus health official said there are still challenges to overcome.
“Where we’re having some challenges with probably reaching that 65 and older group, because there are so many different options for them to get vaccinated, that I think they’re getting overwhelmed by trying to find a location that has a vaccine for them,” said Dr. Mysheika Roberts, Director of Columbus Public Health.
“You know how they used to have the radio shows where they call in, and if you’re the ninth caller, you win? I look at it like that,” said Larry Thomas, 65, who received his first dose Thursday at CPH’s vaccination site at the Ohio Expo Center.
Thomas said he spent weeks looking for an appointment, visiting websites of public health agencies, hospitals, and pharmacies, until he succeeded with CPH.
Roberts, who said the issue of booking an appointment grows even more worrisome when considering people who don’t have reliable internet access, said CPH is working on ways to make it easier to schedule a vaccine.
A spokeswoman for CPH said details would be shared next week.
Supply also continues to be an issue.
After a push to vaccinate school employees in recent weeks brought a surge of doses to the Columbus area, the supply is now returning closer to previous levels.
CPH received 14,120 doses the week of Feb. 1. It received 4,875 the week of Feb. 8.
Kroger, another vaccine provider, received enough doses to vaccinate 15,000 Franklin County school employees in one week. Now, a spokeswoman for the grocery chain said, Kroger pharmacies are back to receiving 100 doses per location each week from the state. A federal partnership brought an additional 100 doses per location, beginnning this week.
According to the CDC, Ohio is set to receive roughly 10,000 more doses next week than it did this week.