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Coronavirus
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.

Pregnant Women, Childcare Workers, Law Enforcement Soon Eligible For COVID Vaccine

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Come Thursday, Ohio will expand its list of eligible Ohioans who can sign up to receive the coronavirus vaccine. Phase 1C includes those with Type 1 diabetes or ALS; pregnant women; and those who have had a bone marrow transplant. Additionally, residents working in childcare, funeral services, and law enforcement and corrections also will become available. Ohio is also expanding to Phase 2 to people age 60 and older.

Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday said beginning this week, the state will receive 96,100 doses of Johnson & Johnson's single shot vaccine. That is in addition to the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines already being distributed.

A total of 448,390 doses are coming into Ohio this week – "by far the most doses that we received in any other week," DeWine said.

"What we're seeing is that there still is a significant demand for the vaccine but we're seeing some space in there, we're seeing some opening and opportunities," he said. "Now's the time – if you haven't been able to get the vaccine and you qualify – now's the time you should be able to get that vaccine."

DeWine said those additional doses is what helped the state decide to move to Phase 1C.

He added those in law enforcement and corrections must have first responder or direct supervisory responsibilities. They must also be on active duty and working at least 20 hours a week. Those who are retired, special or reserve officers do not qualify.

Childcare workers also must meet requirements for eligibility. "That includes lead and assistant teachers and substitutes who are enrolled in Ohio's professional registry who are currently working in open childcare and pre-kindergarten programs," DeWine said. "This will also include licensing specialists employed by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services or county job and family service agencies."

This phase does not include parent volunteers, board members, owners or administrators who do not provide in-classroom support, he added.

DeWine said those eligible can find vaccine availability by visiting coronavirus.ohio.gov for a list of participating providers including local health departments, hospitals, and pharmacies.

Jennifer Merritt brings 15 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU, having served in various digital roles for such legacy publications as InStyle and Parade, as well as start-ups like Levo League and iVillage. She helped these outlets earn several awards, including MIN's 2015 Digital Team of the Year. She graduated from Rutgers University with a journalism major and English minor and has continued her education with professional development classes through the Poynter Institute, Columbia University and PMJA. Before moving to Cincinnati from New York in 2016, she vowed her son would always call it "soda" and not "pop." She has so far been successful in this endeavor.