Ohio governor urges vaccination as 200K doses set to expire

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tried to persuade residents to get vaccinated as the state rushes to administer around 200,000 doses of the Johnson&Johnson vaccine that is set to expire in two weeks.

DeWine on Monday attempted to appeal to the millions of unvaccinated state residents.

“For Ohioans who have been waiting to get their vaccine, I urge you to take action now,” he said in a statement. “There are many opportunities throughout the state to get a vaccine.”

The Republican governor, like his counterparts across the country, is facing a roadblock in vaccination rates as health officials say the majority of individuals who wanted the vaccine have already received it and the rest are either vaccine-hesitant or unwilling to receive it.

The state is also working against the clock to push the one-shot Johnson & Johnson to vaccine providers and asking them to distribute as many doses as possible, as quickly as possible. The doses are set to expire on June 23.

While Biden pledged in May to send 20 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine overseas this month, DeWine said Ohio and other states do not have legal options for sending the vaccine elsewhere, either to other states or other countries.

As of Tuesday, more than 5.4 million Ohioans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, and more than 4.8 million are fully vaccinated. The state reached its goal benchmark last week when the health department reported there were fewer than 50 cases per 100,000 residents.

“Getting vaccinated is the quickest way out of the pandemic and the fastest way for us to return to the lives we remember,” DeWine said.