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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

All Ohioans 16 Years And Up Eligible For COVID Shots Starting March 29

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced all Ohioans will qualify for the vaccines by the end of the month, during a news briefing at the state's first mass COVID-19 vaccination site at the Wolstein Center in Cleveland,

Citing increasing vaccine supply from the federal government, as well as more mass clinics opening in the state soon, anyone aged 16 and up will become eligible for a shot starting March 29, DeWine said.

Starting this Friday, March 19, Ohioans aged 40 years and older will qualify, as well as individuals who have cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease and obesity, he added.

"Between these two eligibility groups, it's about 1.6 million new Ohioans who will now be eligible," DeWine said.

People who have these medical conditions, including obesity, do not have to show any certification proving their status, he added. 

Teenagers who qualify when registration opens for everyone will only be able to schedule a Pfizer shot, DeWine added. 

"The FDA emergency use authorization for the Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines only covers individuals ages 18 and older," he said.

So far, about 2.4 million Ohioans have received their first dose of the vaccine, about one-fifth of the population, according to state data.

Approximately 1,500 Ohioans will be vaccinated at Cleveland State's federal mass vaccination site Tuesday during its soft opening. The clinic will ramp up to vaccinating 6,000 Ohioans per day, possibly by the end of the week.

Other mass clinics scheduled in various cities in Ohio should be up and running by the end of the month, DeWine said.


Copyright 2021 WCPN

Anna Huntsman is a senior broadcast journalism student at Kent State with experience reporting for radio, television and digital platforms. She reports for the Ohio News Connection, Ohio's branch of the Public News Service, and helps run the weekend assignment desk at WKYC. Anna served as the General Manager of TV2, Kent State's student-led television station, during the 2017-18 school year. A Canton native, she is excited to join the WKSU team and tell stories in the Northeast Ohio community.