Gov. Mike DeWine announced on his Twitter account that the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) will be removing all of the pandemic health orders on June 2, except those at nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

“Now, lifting these orders does not mean the virus is gone,” DeWine said. “It does not mean we are all safe. Each Ohio citizen will make their own decisions about wearing a mask and social distancing — and when, for them, that’s appropriate. Ohio businesses and schools, as well, will make their own decisions about how to best keep their customers, employees and students safe.”

DeWine also announced the Pfizer vaccine is now available to people ages 12 and older, following members of the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommending the use of the Pfizer vaccine for people of those ages. DeWine also said the recommendation comes after the Food and Drug Administration updated the emergency use authorization on Monday to start including people ages 12 to 15.

The Highland County Health Department said in a Thursday news release that the county’s first-dose Pfizer vaccine clinic for ages 12 and older will be held on Wednesday, May 19 from 3-7 p.m. at the health department. The release said that preregistration for the clinic is required. To register, go to or call 937-393-1941.

According to an update Wednesday from the Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner, the case count for the county has once again passed over 100 cases, specifically 118.16 cases per 100,000 in population. Warner said that is different from “most counties in the state” which are trending downward. He said that nationally, case counts are “consistently headed lower” too.

He also said that the county has seen 51 new cases over the last 14 days, ending on Wednesday, and that “other than a slight increase in cases between April 29 and May 9, other COVID-19 indicators remain at very low levels.”

Warner said the county is still holding its mobile clinics with the Care-A-Van, adding that the health department will add other locations in the future. He said that over the next month, the van would be in the following places:

* Thursday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to noon at Joey’s Pizza in the Rocky Fork Lake area, then 12:30 to 2 p.m. at the Marshall Township Building.

* Wednesday, May 26 from 9:30 to 11 a.m. at Buford Community Building; 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Pricetown Church of Christ; and 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. at Allensburg Church of Christ.

“This is promising news for Ohioans, making vaccine available to more people will help us return to the life we want to live,” DeWine said. “The COVID-19 vaccine is incredibly powerful, and by protecting more individuals, we make everyone safer. We have worked proactively with the American Academy of Pediatrics – Ohio Chapter, children’s hospitals, and other providers to make sure they would be prepared to begin offering this vaccine to Ohio’s youth. I appreciate all they have done to prepare for this next phase.”

DeWine said children under the age of 18 “not emancipated” need to have parental consent for any vaccine, and that a parent or legal guardian should accompany the minor to receive the vaccine unless it is being received at a physician’s office, school-based or school-associated clinic or a similar place.

He said children at age 12 need to have a prescription to be vaccinated at a pharmacy, but youths ages 13 and older don’t need one to receive the vaccine at any vaccine provider listed at DeWine also said a bill has been introduced that would allow youth ages 7-12 to receive the COVID-19 or flu vaccine at a pharmacy without a prescription. However, he said prescriptions would still be needed for all other vaccinations for this specific age group. He said members of the Ohio House of Representatives and the Ohio Senate have passed the bill, and that once the governor signs it, it will immediately go into effect.

In terms of vaccinations, according to the ODH COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard updated Thursday, 26.24 percent of the population in Highland County has started its vaccinations, equaling 11,325 residents. The ODH considers started as “when an individual has received at least one valid dose of COVID-19 vaccine.”

Statewide, the average is 42.05 percent.

According to the dashboard, 23.19 percent of the population in Highland County has completed its vaccinations, equaling 10,011 people. The ODH considers completed when “an individual has received all recommended COVID-19 vaccine doses and is considered fully immunized.”

Reach Jacob Clary at 937-402-2570.

Local health department has vaccines for those 12 and older

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