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Gov. Mike DeWine: Following Pfizer approval, Ohio's 12-15 year olds could be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine as soon as Wednesday

The Biden administration has said it was prepared to ship doses to 20,000 pharmacies around the country and directly to pediatricians.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Following the Food and Drug Administration's announcement Monday that it is expanding emergency use authorization for Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to children ages 12-15, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has issued a statement laying out a possible timetable for when the eligibility could take effect.

"I am encouraged that the FDA has already updated Pfizer’s Emergency Use Authorization to include youth ages 12-15. Following a recommendation, as soon as Wednesday, from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the CDC, Ohio will immediately expand vaccine eligibility to youth ages 12-15 and provide appropriate guidance for parents, guardians, and vaccine providers across the state. Vaccinations are our way back to a more normal life."

A draft agenda posted online says a vote by the ACIP would happen early Wednesday afternoon. If the committee gives the OK, the vaccines can then be distributed. President Joe Biden said last week that the administration was prepared to ship doses to 20,000 pharmacies around the country and directly to pediatricians as soon as the authorization was made.

Monday's announcement by the FDA comes as the demand for vaccines in Ohio and across the country is stalling. During a stop at a vaccination site in Hamilton County on Friday, DeWine said that the state is looking into providing incentives to those who receive the vaccine -- beyond what already exists.

"There's just so many reasons to get vaccinated and I think we're going to see more and more reasons as we move forward," DeWine said. "I know some states have come up with $100 -- look, we're looking at all kinds of things. If we could figure out what could really incentivize people and pick up a significant number, we would certainly do that. We're still looking at that."

DeWine also pointed out that he believes there are already several incentives in place for people to receive the vaccine in Ohio. In particular, DeWine noted recent changes to the restrictions in the state, including that Ohioans who have been fully vaccinated will no longer be required to quarantine after being exposed to the coronavirus and that nursing home employees who have been vaccinated will no longer need to undergo COVID-19 resting.

"What you're starting to see is a natural distinction being made. For example, a couple of things the state has done: we've said that it really makes no medical sense for somebody who has been fully vaccinated who is exposed then to have to quarantine for 14 days," DeWine said. "So we've said if you've been fully vaccinated, no longer do you have to quarantine... so that should be an incentive."

Nearly 35% of the U.S. population and 44% of adults have been fully vaccinated as of Monday, according to the CDC. That means people who have received both doses of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Forty-six percent of the population and 58.2% have received at least one dose of one of those vaccines.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, just under 36% of residents in the Buckeye State have been fully vaccinated. 

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Editor's Note: The below video is from a previously published story

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