COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Ohio is taking the next step in the fight against COVID-19. Monday kicked off the next eligible age group in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccination rollout plan.
Ages 75 and older can now receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m very happy to get it taken care of because of my age,” said Robert Ertel, 79.
Ertel was one of 650 people who booked Monday appointments for the first dose of the vaccine with Franklin County Public Health.
“He’s the only one in the family who didn’t get the virus. And we wanted to make sure we didn’t want to take any chances with him,” explained Ertel’s son, Marty Ertel.
Franklin County Public Health is using space in a county-owned building connected to the Board of Elections as its mass distribution site. FCPH received 1,300 doses to administer this week and is splitting the distribution over two days of vaccination clinics.
“We have been very intentional about scheduling appointments for the number of doses we have. A message for your viewers is if you schedule with us, you will have a dose available for you when you get on site,” FCPH assistant health commissioner Alexandria Jones told NBC4.
Jones explained FCPH has been meticulous with appointment scheduling because of limited supply and social distancing restrictions.
“We would have liked to have at least double the amount that we got, but that’s something that the state of Ohio Department of Health has to allocate across all of the 88 counties,” Jones said. “We certainly understand the reasoning. And it’s a hard situation for not only Ohio, but all of the nation as we’re working through limited availability.”
Jones anticipates FCPH and other providers will be able to accommodate more vaccinations as more distributors are approved. She said if patients cannot book with the county, they should reach out to their primary healthcare provider, hospital or pharmacy.
Robert Ertel said he was grateful to receive his first dose and is looking forward to a sense of normalcy soon.
“I hope for the best and this thing will do its job,” Robert Ertel said.
You can find available appointments near you by clicking here and using the online search tool.