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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine addresses COVID vaccinations and student athletes

We will stream Gov. DeWine's 10 a.m. press conference live inside this story.

WORTHINGTON, Ohio — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was joined by students and coaches for a Friday morning press conference that was focused on COVID-19 vaccinations and student athletes.

In addition to Gov. DeWine, here are the others who were featured during the press conference:

  • Ohio High School Athletic Association Director Doug Ute
  • Ohio Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Bruce Vanderhoff, M.D.
  • Coaches and athletes from area high schools

Dr. Vanderhoff took several minutes to urge everybody in Ohio -- including younger populations -- to get vaccinated.

“There are severe complications that impact some young people, including the multisystem inflammatory disorder of children (MISC), a very, very severe condition that can hit children without any way of predicting which will be hit by it," he said. "It causes severe inflammation of organs, including the heart, the brain, the kidneys. It lands these children in the hospital in a very serious condition."

RELATED: Gov. Mike DeWine ‘concerned’ about Ohio's COVID vaccination rates

He said the public health community is also concerned that pockets of the state where vaccination rates are low could result in "mini surges" of COVID-19 as we head into the fall season.

"Those mini surges will undoubtedly be associated with hospitalizations and deaths," Dr. Vanderhoff continued. "Parents, teachers, guardians, coaches, teammates, you have an opportunity. Vaccinating yourself is, of course, the best way to protect yourself but it’s also the best way to protect a lot of other people you care about – including some young people you’re interacting with throughout the school day, or perhaps even in the course of your athletics."

Dr. Vanderhoff reiterated the vaccines are safe and effective.

"I want to remind everyone that they were developed in a way that assured that absolutely no corners were cut in their development," Dr. Vanderhoff said. "The development of these vaccines, which are truly remarkable vaccines, entailed all the usual safety steps.”

Several student athletes stepped up to speak and encourage other people their age to get vaccinated.

The press conference was held at the Thomas Worthington Track, which is located in Franklin County.

The press conference comes the same day that Ohio’s state of emergency comes to an end after 15 months. It was initially activated in March 2020 at the start of the COVID pandemic. Gov. DeWine said Thursday that lifting the state of emergency does not impact what Ohio can do at this point in the pandemic.

RELATED: Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine ends COVID state of emergency after 15 months: 'It's time for that to end as well'

“Sometimes there’s a misconception about what a state of emergency means in Ohio," he said. "It really is very narrow as far as what it does. From a practical point of view of what we were doing daily early on in the pandemic: procurement, purchasing, waiving those rules so that we could get stuff in here now. Whether it was PPE or whatever it was, that was really significant. But now we’re at a very different stage of the pandemic. … This is kind of the last thing to be dealt with.”

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