Over the last few weeks, it seems like everyone is talking about vaccines. "Have you gotten it?" "Are you a 1a or a 1b?" "How do I get my shot?"

OSBA’s legal division, in anticipation of questions from districts, has put together a quick Q&A to help districts answer some of the questions they may get from employees, parents and students.

How were priorities for vaccines developed?

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended a priority list for vaccines based on the work of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, an independent panel of medical and public health experts. Ohio’s plan is based on the CDC’s recommendations.

Where did “1a” and “1b” come from and what do these groups mean?

The CDC’s recommendations were to roll out the vaccine to three groups, in this order:

  • Group 1a: Healthcare personnel and residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Group 1b:
    • Frontline essential workers, including “those who work in the educational sector (teachers, support staff, and daycare workers).” 
    • People aged 75 and older.
  • Group 1c:
    • People aged 65-74 years.
    • People aged 16-64 years with underlying medical conditions that increase the risk of serious COVID-19 complications.
    • Other essential workers.

What are the state’s goals for vaccines?

According to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH), the state’s priorities for Phase 1B of vaccines are to save lives, protect Ohio’s most vulnerable residents and get all K-12 students in schools for either full in-classroom or hybrid learning by March 1.

Ohio has already provided vaccines for most of the people in group 1A.

When will Phase 1B vaccines be available?

Phase 1B is being rolled out over several weeks. Each week, the group of Ohio residents eligible for the vaccine will expand. The first eligibility group, who can receive the vaccine starting next week, is Ohioans aged 80 and over. The second eligibility group is Ohioans aged 75 and over and people with medical conditions that make them more vulnerable to serious complications of COVID-19.

Where do Ohio’s educators fall in the list of those eligible for the vaccine?

School personnel, including teachers, non-teaching staff and administrators, can qualify for eligibility for vaccines beginning on Feb. 1. However, in order for personnel of any school to be eligible, the school must commit to return to full or hybrid in-class learning by Mar. 1.

How does a school demonstrate its commitment to return to in-class learning?

The Governor’s office has prepared a Commitment to Return to In-Person or Hybrid Learning form. The form must be signed by the Superintendent of the district and returned to ODH at schools@odh.ohio.gov.

Is there enough of the vaccine for everyone in the eligibility groups?

The vaccine supply is limited, so the state is rolling it out gradually to high-risk populations. However, according to ODH, Ohio is committed to making the vaccine widely available to anyone who wants to receive it as quickly as possible.

How do my district’s eligible employees find vaccine providers?

ODH has prepared a tool for Ohioans to find vaccine providers. The provider list can be searched by name, county and ZIP code.

Where can I find more information about vaccines, including safety information?

ODH has an FAQ on COVID-19 vaccines and a set of myths v. facts about the vaccines.

OSBA’s division of legal services will continue to monitor and share information about vaccines as it is made available. As always, you can reach out to the division at (855) 672-2529 or (855) OSBA-LAW for more information.

Posted by Jennifer A. Hardin on 1/15/2021