Ohio offered nursing home workers early dibs on a vaccine. Many said no.


Although the vast majority of nursing home residents in Ohio are accepting a vaccine for Covid-19, the same cannot be said for the staff in these facilities, Gov. Mike DeWine said on Wednesday.

Roughly 60 percent of Ohio nursing home workers offered a vaccine have refused to be inoculated, the governor announced at a news conference, citing anecdotal evidence.

Mr. DeWine, a Republican, urged people in high priority groups not to pass up an opportunity to get the vaccine, saying its benefits far outweighed any risks.

“We’re not going to make them, but we wish they had a higher compliance,” he said. “Our message today is: The train might not be coming back for a while.”

Nursing home residents and employees have made up one of the most vulnerable populations during the pandemic. About 40 percent of U.S. coronavirus deaths have been linked to nursing homes or long-term care facilities.

And so when vaccines arrived, nursing home residents were some of the first people in the United States to get them. They were inoculated after federal regulators gave emergency use authorization to vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

In Ohio, the state is also giving vaccine priority to other groups, among them frontline workers, E.M.S. workers, and residents and staff members at veterans’ homes and facilities that treat those with developmental disabilities and mental health disorders.

Adults working in schools will also soon have the option to receive a vaccine, Mr. DeWine said, although he did not give an exact date.

The state is set to receive over 500,000 doses of vaccine from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna. As of Wednesday, close to 94,000 Ohio residents have received a vaccine, the Ohio Department of Health reported.

Mr. DeWine said he had expected the numbers of those vaccinated to be higher. More broadly, U.S. officials have acknowledged that vaccine rollout has lagged throughout the country.

“I’m not satisfied with where we are in Ohio,” Mr. DeWine said. “We’re not moving fast enough, but we’re going to get there.”



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