COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As Ohio lifts most public health orders, top doctors are still urging those who are unvaccinated to mask up and social distance until they get their shot.
On Wednesday, the White House announced a new initiative to get people vaccinated by the Fourth of July, calling it a “National Month of Action.” President Joe Biden’s goal is 70 percent of adults will have started their vaccine process by July 4.
“Pharmacies are going to have extended hours, there’s going to be vaccine access at multiple places including barbershops, schools, universities,” said Dr. Bechara Choucair, White House vaccination coordinator.
Choucair said that like the rest of the country, many Ohioans have been vaccinated, but there are still many that need to be.
“The reality is, at the end of the day, the more people are vaccinated, the faster people are getting vaccinated, the closer we are going to get to a sense of normalcy,” Choucair said.
Ohio’s vaccination rate has fallen behind dozens of other states, including neighboring Michigan and Pennsylvania. Despite an initial rise in vaccinations after the Vax-A-Million lottery was announced, Ohio’s numbers have slumped again.
Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said he still feels confident in the path Ohioans are heading down.
“I’m encouraged by what we are currently seeing and encouraged by the impact that Vax-A-Million has had and continues to have,” Vanderhoff said. “I think it’s premature to look at our numbers coming out of a holiday weekend to make much in the way of conclusions.”
Ohio dropped its statewide mask mandate and requirements on social distancing Wednesday. Vanderhoff and Choucair said if you are vaccinated, life can get back to normal, but for others, masks are still necessary to stay safe.
“For those of us who are vaccinated, you can go back and do pretty much everything you used to do and you’re very well protected,” Choucair said. “The fact, though, remains if you’re unvaccinated, you’re still unprotected.”