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Cleveland Mayor Jackson: EMTs Received Vaccine Dose, Nursing Homes Next

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said he believes all emergency medical technicians (EMTs) in the city who want the COVID-19 vaccine have received the first dose.

Jackson delivered the update on the city’s vaccination process during a virtual town hall Wednesday.

Vaccinations for EMTs and paramedics began on Christmas Eve, he explained. Now, the city will move forward in vaccinating people in congregate living facilities including nursing homes.

“We are following the state guidelines in terms of prioritization,” he said. “This will be a process, and it will take some time. Our goal here in Cleveland is to have it done in a very systematic way and to have it done in a very efficient way.”

Earlier Wednesday, Gov. Mike DeWine said the vaccination process was moving too slowly. So far, 94,078 Ohioans have received the coronavirus vaccine, less than one percent of the total population.

Ohio is currently vaccinating frontline health care workers and people working and living in congregate living facilities, but Jackson said it’s not as simple as just saying which groups to vaccinate.

“There’s an infrastructure that we are creating in order to allow for the vaccine to come in, to be stored in the proper temperature, to then be transported to a certain place where the vaccine will be distributed and given to them,” he said.

Jackson said the process is complex because people need two doses of the vaccine in order to receive the maximum protection from the virus, so part of the process includes notifying those who have had their first dose when it is time to get their second shot. And, he added, the city is also collecting data to send to the state so they know who has been vaccinated.

“We will work on a local level to deliver the vaccine and vaccinate people as more and more people become eligible,” he said.

Jackson said his administration is working with the state to provide the vaccine for everyone in the city who is eligible and wants to take it. Once that’s done, the city will work with the state to prepare for the next group. DeWine announced last week K-12 teachers and school staff and people over 65 will be eligible for vaccinations around mid-January.
Copyright 2020 90.3 WCPN ideastream.

Lisa Ryan is a health reporter at Ideastream Public Media.