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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.

Ohio To Hold COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility At 65 And Older

Drug companies are about to start sending more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to Ohio. But even with more shots, Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio) says the state will hold eligibility at 65 years and older starting next week.

DeWine says the state will keep the window of eligibility at 65 in order to vaccinate the 2.2 million people in what's known as Group 1B. 

The group includes more than 300,000 teachers and school staff, causing criticism that younger teachers are getting the vaccine ahead of more vulnerable age groups. 

DeWine says it's a valid argument. 

"It's choices. It's a balance. It's trying to figure out how we protect our elderly but at the same time get our kids back in school," says DeWine. 

The governor says they're still committing about 100,000 doses a week for seniors and diverting the rest to teachers just for the month of February. 

The state has been receiving 146,200 doses of the vaccine every week. Starting next week, Moderna will increase its portion from 73,200 to 105,600 bringing the state's total amount of vaccine to 178,600 a week. DeWine says Pfizer plans to increase it's federal supply by 40% by mid-February.

Copyright 2021 The Statehouse News Bureau

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.