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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.

When Is It OK To Sign Up For The COVID-19 Vaccine?

vaccine shot needle covid
Photo by Steven Cornfield on Unsplash

The hunt for appointments is on now that all adult Ohioans know when they're eligible for the vaccine - either March 19 for those over 40 or with certain health concerns or March 29 for anyone 16 or older.

That's leading to confusion about when it's OK to sign up. For example, some websites or providers allow people who will be eligible soon to sign up now for appointments. This is dependent on how quickly providers are able to update their software or scheduling programs.

The Health Collaborative's Christa Hyson says it's OK to book an appointment if you find one, but there are a few caveats.

"If you are, say, that 30-year-old that is very eager for your vaccine and you do find an appointment, make sure that appointment date is after that eligibility time frame," she explains.

Also, you shouldn't lie when filling out online forms.

"I don't want anyone to be making up a birthday to try to jump in line," Hyson says.

Providers add appointments as they get doses, so Hyson says to check often as there are frequently new appointments added on a rolling basis.

Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus notes TriHealth seems to be offering appointments further out. UC Health tends to add appointments on Friday afternoon, she adds.

With so many people about to flood the system, there is help for those without internet access, 65 or older, or who are otherwise eligible now but having trouble finding an appointment. You can call 211 for assistance.

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.