CLEVELAND — I wish I could answer all of your questions at once, but let me get through some of the most common I've been getting.
Do I have to register and get my vaccine in the county where I live?
The vaccines are a federal asset, so no, you don't. However, our health officials are asking (since supply is limited) that you register close to home. If you try to register in a different county, keep in mind each provider controls its own scheduling and appointments, and some may choose those who live nearby first anyway.
Why aren't there mass vaccination clinics set up in Ohio?
The main reason is supply. We crunched the numbers today, and it does appear Ohio is going through its supply of vaccine as it comes in. But each state decides how vaccines are dispersed, and Gov. DeWine chose to give it to local providers to handle the general public on an appointment basis.
That does not mean that there won't be a mass vaccination clinic set up in the future when we start getting a lot more vaccines, but we'll have to deal with what we're dealt right now. The Cuyahoga County health commissioner brought up a good point Wednesday, saying some countries may not see the vaccine for a year or more, so we just need a few more weeks of patience.
I have a younger family member who has cancer, does she qualify to get a vaccine?
As of right now, the answer is no. The state's underlying conditions list that opens up for vaccines next week is really specific.
For example, it includes type 1 diabetics and lung disease folks who had to be hospitalized within the last year, solid organ transplant recipients, and a specific list of genetic disorders. Right now, cancer is not on that list.
Although both the CDC and National Cancer Institute recommend vaccines, as of now cancer is not included for vaccination next week. However, the governor has been known to tweak his guidelines, so stay tuned.
I'm a health care worker and I missed the first round of vaccines given by my employer. Now they're telling me I have to wait. Is this true?
The Governor ordered hospitals to finish vaccinating health care workers by last Sunday and then start the 80-plus group. The Cuyahoga County Board of Health is still vaccinating health care workers, but if you're not registered by now, you're going to have to wait.
If you decided not to get the vaccine and then changed your mind, you'll have to wait until there's enough supply to fit you in, but keep checking with your employer.
I don't have a computer. What can I do?
Yesterday, I advised calling the United Way's 2-1-1 Helpline. That still stands, but now University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic provided phone numbers people can call to leave a message with contact info and a volunteer will call them back to get them registered. This is only for those 80 and up right now.
For University Hospitals, call (216) 800-9367. The Cleveland Clinic wants people to use My Chart to set up appointments, but for those who can't, you can call (216) 444-2538. Again, these numbers are only for those at least 80 years old who do not have access to a computer to register.