Ohio was on track to receive its largest shipment of COVID-19 vaccine doses to date this week--more than half a million shots. To keep pace with the increased number of vaccines, Ohio has now opened wide its eligibility for everyone over the age of 16. The increased availability of the vaccines has helped raise hopes that the end of the pandemic may soon be in sight.
But getting signed up for vaccines can still be difficult for people and the governor says the state may have to move vaccines around once the shots arrived. The latest shipment of vaccines was scheduled to arrive in Ohio yesterday.
For more than a year, most Americans have been socially isolated. Measures implemented to reduce the spread of the virus sent many home for work or school. Other measures discouraged gatherings outside of a household's "personal" bubble. Events and celebrations over the last year have either been canceled or gone to on-line streaming alternatives.
A year ago, when this pandemic started, few of us knew what to expect. Here we are more than a year later, and uncertainty is still very much part of the equation.
The toll of the pandemic has been enormous in lives lost. The economic devastation has also been deep with so many out of work.
And there has also been a toll on mental health as people navigate their changed lives. A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that nearly 50% reported feeling "uncomfortable" about returning to in-person interactions. Having the vaccine did little to lessen that discomfort for respondents.
The upheaval caused by the pandemic did not go unnoticed by thieves looking to get your personal information, money or both. Trying to cash in on the uncertainty, scammers are using the pandemic to drive schemes tied to vaccines. And if the phony promise of gifts and prizes cannot persuade you, scammers will lean on fear tactics and threats to try and get what they want out of you.
Anyone can be victimized in a scam-even the savviest of consumers. We check in with Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs to discuss some of what they are seeing in terms of scams.
Jeffrey Janata, Ph.D.; director, Division of Psychology, University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center
Sheryl Harris, director, Cuyahoga County Department of Consumer Affairs
Karen Kasler, Statehouse News Bureau chief, Ohio Public Radio/TV