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EXCLUSIVE | Finding a COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio: What Cleveland’s hospital CEOs want you to know and what to expect from the months ahead

'I am absolutely convinced that within the next few months we’re going to have new vaccines and a sufficient supply of vaccines. ...'

CLEVELAND — Ohio has been giving COVID-19 vaccinations since December, but many throughout the state are battling the constant struggle of finding an available appointment. In a 3News exclusive, our Senior Health Correspondent Monica Robins hosted an exclusive conversation with the CEOs from Cleveland’s hospital systems for their thoughts on the state’s vaccination rollout, the current state of the coronavirus pandemic and what they want all Ohioans to know as we look forward to the months ahead.

Here's who we featured in the roundtable:

  • Dr. Tom Mijalevic, Cleveland Clinic President and CEO
  • Dr. Akram Boutros, MetroHealth President and CEO
  • Dr. Cliff Megerian, University Hospitals President and CEO

RELATED: COVID-19 vaccines in Ohio: How you can make an appointment at a store near you

During the conversation, Robins addressed the difficulty some are having with finding a COVID-19 vaccine appointment. She asked the CEOs for any calming words or thoughts on Gov. Mike DeWine’s vaccination strategy. Here’s what they had to say…

Watch our full 52-minute conversation in the player below:

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Dr. Boutros: "I think the governor is doing the best job he could with the limited amount of vaccines we have. There is no right way to do this. You have to figure it out as you go along and see where the highest risks are. For calming words, I would say you will be vaccinated before you know it. I know it’s going to seem like a long time for new vaccines to come on board, but we are coming on board and we’ll be utilizing them. Just have the confidence that when it’s available, we will vaccinate you."

RELATED: See how many people have been vaccinated for COVID-19 in Ohio and across the country: Interactive map

Dr. Mijalevic: “We have to realize there are millions and millions of our fellow citizens who are still patiently waiting for a vaccine, so these are difficult times. I would like to assure everyone that this, too, will pass and will pass very quickly. New vaccines are coming up with a speed and a pace that are unprecedented. Let’s just take a journey back in time, a year ago we were struggling with testing for COVID. Right now, nobody worries whether they can be tested or not because testing is available everywhere. I am absolutely convinced that within the next few months we’re going to have new vaccines and a sufficient supply of vaccines that we will be able to vaccinate all of those in need."

RELATED: What you need to know as Ohio prepares to launch its centralized COVID-19 vaccine website

Robins also asked if the COVID-19 vaccine is something we may have to deal with annually like the flu shot.

Dr. Megerian: “I do. I do. I think the pace of the variants that we’re seeing emerge is such that it will probably be very much like the influenza virus where every year we have a new variant and that drives the vaccine development and that is what we get as a shot every year. I absolutely believe we probably will get to the point, if you will, a cocktail, theoretically, every year both the latest COVID vaccine as well as the latest influenza vaccine. I think it will be part of our world.”

Check out more highlights of this conversation below:

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