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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.

Ohioans: Don't Book COVID Vaccine Appointments In Neighboring States

Jason Whitman
Xavier University's Cintas Center is serving as a mass vaccination clinic.

As more people are eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine, some Ohioans are finding frustration after booking appointments in neighboring states only to be turned away at the door.

Christa Hyson, assistant director for emergency response and public information officer for The Health Collaborative, says if you live in Ohio, make sure to book your shot in Ohio.

"Even if a system lets you — as an Ohio resident — book an appointment in Kentucky, for example, when you show up in Kentucky, unfortunately, you will be declined," she says.

Residents in Kentucky and Indiana can get vaccinated in Ohio as long as they meet Ohio's eligibility, even if they're not eligible in their home states.

Hyson says the reason Ohioans can't cross state lines is because neighboring governors set different rules for eligibility.

"Gov. Beshear has set different mandates than Gov. DeWine," she explains. "That's why you've maybe heard or seen stories of Kentucky residents getting vaccinated in Ohio, but Ohio residents cannot get vaccinated in Kentucky."

The problem seems to stem from some online booking systems allowing people to make vaccine appointments in neighboring states. For example, people in Southwest Ohio and the Tri-State are finding Kroger's website will allow them to schedule across state lines even after entering Ohio as their home state.

WVXU reached out to Kroger for comment and is awaiting a response.

There is a caveat: If you work in health care in Kentucky but live in Ohio, you can get the jab in Kentucky. Hyson says most people who were eligible in that way were offered the vaccine through their employers.

Indiana initially allowed people who lived elsewhere but worked in the Hoosier State to get the vaccine there. However, Christine Stinson, executive director of the Wayne County Health Department, says that rule changedseveral weeks ago.

Gov. Eric Holcomb earlier this week noted Indiana is getting fewer vaccine doses than other states since allocations are based on population. He's expected to offer more details on the state's rollout timeline in an address March 23.

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.