CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Starting Monday, Ohio will move into phase 2D of the vaccine distribution plan.
This phase will expand vaccine eligibility to all Ohioans 16 years and older.
Hamilton County Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman says the county will be receiving 30,000 doses from the state this week.
One in four Hamilton County residents have received at least their first dose of the vaccine. Kesterman adds this is a big milestone.
“Our goal is to get everyone who is eligible vaccinated. And so as we have now opened it up for more and more folks, I think it’s great because we can start making progress,” Kesterman said. “I fear a little bit that here in Hamilton County because we’ve had so many people want the vaccine that folks that have been eligible for a little bit haven’t gotten a vaccine are going to feel upset or disappointed or like they can’t get a shot, and we are going to make every effort that everyone who wants to get vaccinated here has that opportunity.”
Appointments with Mercy Health and the Cincinnati Health Department open up Monday for people in this new eligibility group.
The Cincinnati Health Department will have more than 4,500 appointments this week. Staff says if it receives a second shipment this week, that number will be closer to 7,000.
TriHealth already has the next three weeks of appointments booked, but workers there are encouraging people to keep checking -- because if someone cancels that appointment will open up.
Health leaders have stressed from the beginning the goal is to get vaccines into the arms of everyone.
Local 12 asked Ohio Governor Mike DeWine what the state is doing to overcome vaccine hesitancy when it comes to this age group.
“We know this is being the group that has worried the least,” Gov. DeWine said. “It is trying to persuade them for many reasons one is you don't want to be a carrier of this, and the evidence would appear to show once you get the vaccine your ability to carry it goes down as well. At least that's what I'm told. Do your part, be patriotic, help us out.”
The Pfizer vaccine is the only vaccine approved by the FDA for vaccinating those ages 16 and 17.
People 18 and older may receive the Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The FDA has not approved the vaccination of children ages 15 or younger.
Ohio is also on track to open permanent mass vaccination sites.
The Cintas Center and Wilmington Air Park mass vaccination clinics will open later this week.