COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohioans 50 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination starting on Thursday this week, as the state begins Phase 2B of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Monday. Phase 2B includes about 1.2 million Ohioans.

What You Need To Know

  • Ohioans 50 and older will be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccination starting on Thursday this week along with those with Type 2 diabetes and end-stage renal disease

  • On Monday, the state also launched a centralized vaccine portal on the Ohio Department of Health website

  • The site doesn’t allow Ohioans to schedule appointments yet, but it is planned to offer that functionality soon

  • The centralized website also will allow people to schedule appointments at Ohio’s 15 mass vaccination sites once they are up and running

Phase 1D will also begin on Thursday opening eligibility to about 197,000 people who have Type 2 diabetes or end-stage renal disease, the governor said.

DeWine lowered the eligibility age to 50 only a week after announcing Phase 1C would begin, making about 900,000 Ohioans eligible for the shots.

Phase 1C includes people 60 and older, pregnant women and people with Type I diabetes, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and recent bone marrow transplant recipients. People who work in funeral services and child care, as well as police, firefighters and corrections officers were also in Phase 1C.

In his press briefings, DeWine has stressed the importance of using all of the vaccine available, to try to ensure none is wasted. He said he expanded eligibility because the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is now available and in distribution in Ohio.

“We know that there is a great potential out there that this virus may get a lot more contagious very quickly, by some estimates, by the end of the month of March,” DeWine said when he lowered eligibility to 60. “So, every single day that goes by, it is imperative that we get as many shots in people’s arms as we can.”

Also on Monday, the state launched a “Vaccine Management Solution” on the Ohio Department of health website, which is intended to centralize the Ohio’s COVID-19 vaccination sign-up process.

Right now, Ohioans can visit and fill out a brief questionnaire to determine eligibility before being taken to a page listing most of the county’s vaccine locations.

Users are then sent to the vaccine distributors’ websites to sign up and/or search for an appointment.  

The government site doesn’t yet have the functionality to enable people to sign up for an appointment, although the state said that functionality is coming.

The state said it will work with vaccine providers to integrate their scheduling systems with the state’s vaccine portal.  

Once the state’s 15 mass vaccination clinics are up and running, and the FEMA clinic at Cleveland’s Wolstein Center, Ohioans will be able to schedule their vaccinations through the vaccine management portal, the state said.

The Wolstein Center clinic is scheduled to open March 17 and run for eight weeks, and have the capacity to administer 6,000 vaccines a day.