Ohio has developed a central coronavirus vaccine registration website that will allow people to sign up for the vaccine and is working to add providers to the system, Gov. Mike DeWine said Tuesday.
Under the first phase, the state created a system that is “functional and ready from a technical standpoint,” he said.
Ohio is now on the second phase and is working on signing up providers for the central system.
The statewide portal will allow Ohioans to confirm what eligibility group they are in and also let them find providers and schedule a vaccine appointment.
Many Ohioans have been confused and frustrated by the patchwork of registration methods available during the initial weeks of the vaccine rollout.
“In addition to increasing convenience for those already eligible, this system will be critically important as we look forward to time when we receive more vaccine and more Ohioans become eligible,” DeWine said. “It will be of particular importance down the road when we have more and more vaccines coming into the State of Ohio.”
Because the system is scalable, it will be helpful once the state has enough vaccines to have mass vaccination sites.
Early into the state’s vaccine planning, Ohio looked into a central scheduling solution the federal government intended all states to use. After reviewing the system, Ohio, as well as about 40 other states, decided the system would not work for Ohio, the governor said.
Instead, Ohio built its own system.
Once most providers are signed up and have entered vaccine availability into the system, Ohio will begin phase three, which will be to make the website live for the public.
Ohio, in addition to reaching out to providers to get them signed up, will also require new vaccine providers to use the system as they are approved.
The state is also working with providers with vaccine waitlists to possibly integrate those with Ohio’s system without allowing other patients to jump the line.
“Our goal is for Ohioans to have a positive customer experience when we launch to make appointments,” DeWine said. “Those interested in getting a vaccination will be able to put their zip code in and pull up appointments within 20 miles.”
He added that the state is working with Area Agencies on Aging to help Ohioans who do not have internet access to help get a vaccine appointment.
A winter storm has delayed some direct shipments of the coronavirus vaccine to providers in Ohio, as well as delayed some shipments from the state that were scheduled for Tuesday.
Some shipments may be delayed a day or two, DeWine said. The Ohio Department of Health has contacted all providers to warn them of possible delays and to encourage them to track their shipments.
The state sent out 26 deliveries scheduled for Tuesday on a two-hour delay to give street crews time to clear the roads. Delivery drivers gave providers about an hour to half an hour’s notice to make sure providers were ready to receive the vaccine, the governor said.
DeWine also encouraged Ohioans to contact vaccine providers if they have a vaccination appointment. Patients should not just assume vaccine clinics are canceled due to the weather.
To help promote vaccine equity, Ohio will have four virtual town halls in the coming weeks to address different populations regarding vaccine safety and misinformation.
Medical experts, community leaders and public health professional will join the livestream to answer questions about the coronavirus vaccine.
The town halls are scheduled on the following dates: — Monday, Feb. 22, at 6:30 p.m. — African American Ohioans — Tuesday, Feb. 23, at 6:30 p.m. — Hispanic/Latino Ohioans — Monday, March 1, at 6:30 p.m. — Asian American and Pacific Islander Ohioans — Tuesday, March 2, at 6:30 p.m. — Rural Ohioans
The livestreams will be available on Facebook, YouTube and on the Ohio Department of Health’s website.
Ohio reported just more than 2,000 daily cases of coronavirus Tuesday after back-to-back days with cases under 2,000.
It’s the fourth straight day cases have remained below 3,000, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Over the last 21 days, Ohio is reporting an average of 3,351 cases a day. Since the pandemic started, there have been 943,291 total cases reported in the state.
Hospitalizations increased by 59 for a total of 48,739.
As of Tuesday, there were 1,566 coronavirus patients in Ohio’s hospitals, as well as 466 in ICUs and 303 on ventilators, according to ODH. It’s the eighth straight day Ohio had less than 2,000 COVID-19 patients hospitalized.
The state also reported 10 ICU admissions on Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,949.