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Health & Science
WKSU, our public radio partners in Ohio and across the region and NPR are all continuing to work on stories on the latest developments with the coronavirus and COVID-19 so that we can keep you informed.

DeWine Urges Eligible Youth Get Vaccinated As Ohio 'Seems To' Be Headed For A Plateau

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Ohio Department of Health/YouTube

With the number of older Ohioans getting vaccinated consistently going up, Gov. Mike DeWine on Wednesday used his coronavirus briefing to speak to younger residents and urge them to get the shot.

Currently, those age 16 and older are eligible for the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, while Johnson & Johnson's single-shot vaccine remains on pause. DeWine said almost a fifth – or 18.6% – of 16- and 17-year-olds have received their first dose, which "is not bad," but he'd like to see more.

"What happens with our younger people is going to determine how fast we can reach herd immunity," he said.

Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said what might not have been a concern for younger Ohioans early in the pandemic should be a concern now.

"Until we get a lot more vaccines in people's arms, the unvaccinated are playing the COVID lottery and it's a lottery where the consequences are pretty stark," he said. Vanderhoff later noted that in the winter, people in their 20s accounted for 3-4% of hospital admissions, but now that number has doubled to 6%.

The state is releasing a series of PSAs featuring young Ohioans who have gotten vaccinated.

Meanwhile, 38% of the state's total population has received their first dose, and 27.5% are now fully vaccinated, DeWine reported.

The governor said cases are still at a high rate, but not going up, which indicates the state may be headed to a plateau. Still, he cautioned the virus is "more contagious than it's ever been."

"We'll feel better when we see a really defined, downward direction," he said. "I don't think we can say we're there yet."

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