DeWine: 'Take action now' as 200,000 doses of J&J vaccine expire June 23

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Jun. 8—COLUMBUS — Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday urged Ohioans to get their coronavirus shots before 200,000 doses of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine expire on June 23.

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

Ohio cannot send unused doses to other states or countries, prompting the Ohio Department of Health to direct all providers in the state to reduce waste by using vaccines set to expire first.

Only 46.08% of Ohioans have started the vaccination process, according to the COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard from the Ohio Department of Health. In Allen County, that number drops to 33.3%. Vaccination rates in other local counties range from a high in Putnam County of 39.82% to a low of 30.26% in Hardin County. Van Wert County is at 34.6%, and Auglaize County is at 32.3%.

Meanwhile, vaccination numbers have plummeted in recent weeks. Daily statewide vaccination started totals only topped 13,000 once so far in June, after only missing that number a combined 10 times in April and May.

Administration of the single-shot vaccine was paused in April as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigated reports of a rare blood clotting disorder reported in several adults who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The pause was lifted April 23.

The rare but serious blood clots have been reported in seven per 1 million vaccinated women ages 18-49, according to the CDC. Men of all ages and women age 50 and older are at lower risk for blood clots.

Coronavirus cases in Ohio fell below 50 per 100,000 people for the first time since last June on Saturday.

DeWine previously set a goal of 50 cases per 100,000 population in a two-week period as the point when Ohio could remove its public health orders, excluding orders for nursing homes and other higher-risk settings.

Health orders were formally removed last Wednesday, although DeWine and health officials continue to warn unvaccinated Ohioans that they are at risk for future coronavirus infections and should continue wearing masks in public until they are fully vaccinated, defined as two weeks after a person's last shot.

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