COLUMBUS – As Florida limits COVID-19 vaccines to full-time residents and some snowbirds, Ohio and its neighboring states have no such restrictions.
Ohio has no residency requirement to receive a shot here. In fact, about 17,000 people who live in other states have received a COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio so far, according to Ohio Department of Health data. They represent 2.7% of all COVID-19 vaccines started in the state.
Most of those recipients were doctors, nursing home workers and first responders who work in Ohio but live in neighboring states, Gov. Mike DeWine said when asked about cross-state vaccinations.
“Some of this is just natural, organic. It’s just going to happen," DeWine said.
Neighboring states have similar rules. West Virginia and Indiana will vaccinate those who work in their states even if they don't live there, according to state health departments.
"Although vaccine allocations are based on state population, we know that it may be necessary to vaccinate certain nonresidents, such as health care workers who work in an Indiana hospital but live in one of our border states," said Megan Wade-Taxter, spokeswoman for the Indiana State Department of Health.
Kentucky will vaccinate anyone who meets the state's eligibility requirements regardless of where they live. Health officials recommend that individuals return to the same location where they received their first shot to receive the second dose in the two-shot regimen.
Michigan distributes vaccines to its local health departments based on population, so health officials would prefer people to stick to their nearby location for vaccination. But there are no residency requirements to receive a vaccine.
Pennsylvania allows residents to receive vaccines in other states and vice versa.
Last week, Florida limited access to COVID-19 vaccines to state residents and those living there for at least 31 consecutive days, cutting off "vaccine tourism." The state previously allowed anyone 65 and older to receive a shot.
DeWine has bemoaned the scarcity of COVID-19 vaccines available to Ohioans. The state has limited shots to the healthcare workers, first responders, the state's oldest residents and those most at risk of serious complications. Soon, teachers and school employees will join that list.
Because states have different priorities when it comes to who gets the vaccine first, someone might be eligible for a vaccine in Ohio before they could get one in Michigan or Kentucky.
However, the state has no plans to invoke a residency requirement for COVID-19 shots.
“We’re going to talk with different governors and see if there’s anything in particular that we need to do about that," DeWine said. "I’m not sure that there really is.”