CLEVELAND — Editor's note: the video in the player above is from March 19, 2021.
As Ohio continues to take part in what he has described as a "race" against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has taken a significant step toward making the COVID-19 vaccine available to everyone in the state.
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Speaking in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday, DeWine revealed that he has authorized providers to distribute the coronavirus vaccine to everyone in the state age 16 and older if the provider still has appointments available. People 16-years-old and older and without qualifying health and professional circumstances were previously eligible to begin receiving the vaccine on Monday, March 29.
“I authorized all of the [local] health departments in the state and any other of the [COVID-19 vaccine] locations -- we have about 1,300 locations around the state of Ohio -- so we have now authorized them that if they cannot fill slots this week or next week, we authorized them this morning to go ahead and offer them to 16 years of age and older," DeWine said. "If the department has not been able to fill the slot this week, they can go ahead and take anybody 16 years of age and older."
Prior to Monday's announcement, adults 40-years-old and older, as well as those with certain medical conditions and qualifying professions were eligible to schedule appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. DeWine said he will make an official announcement regarding his authorization during a press briefing at 2 p.m. on Monday to discuss the state's response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
DeWine's announcement comes at a time in which he says previously declining COVID-19 trends in the state have plateaued.