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Funeral service workers now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine in Ohio

Funeral service workers can begin signing up to get their COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, March 4 with Phase 1C.
Credit: Getty/iStockphoto

TOLEDO, Ohio — It's a long-awaited step in the right direction for funeral service workers who have been hoping for a chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

WTOL 11 first visited Castillo Funeral Home and Cremation about two months ago when owner John Castillo told us about 20% of funerals he'd recently hosted were COVID-related.

Castillo now says he's pleased he and other funeral workers will be next to get vaccinated. He says there's a lot of them and feels they're always the last ones to be spoken about.

RELATED: Ohio death care workers frustrated for not being included in COVID-19 vaccine distribution

"Since we're there to take care of their loved ones, and even when loved ones die of covid or any type of disease, we want to be protected too. And it's important to protect all of our staff and everyone in the industry," Castillo said.

The Ohio Funeral Directors Association is reacting as well. 

"The Ohio Funeral Directors Association and its nearly 1,000 funeral home members are extremely grateful to Governor DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health for recognizing the critical need to protect Ohio funeral service workers," said the association's executive director, Melissa Sullivan. "The inclusion of our essential population in Phase 1C of Ohio’s Vaccination Plan ensures the continuation of timely and dignified service to decedents and their loved ones.”

Funeral service workers and the entire 1C vaccination group can begin scheduling appointments for their vaccinations on Thursday, March 4.