Indiana clamps down on COVID-19 vaccine eligibility, clinics

A day after Indiana expanded coronavirus vaccine to all Hoosiers 60 and older, state health officials doubled down on eligibility restrictions and announced new guidelines for clinics administering shots.

Posted: Feb 25, 2021 10:45 AM
Updated: Feb 25, 2021 10:56 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A day after Indiana expanded coronavirus vaccine to all Hoosiers 60 and older, state health officials doubled down on eligibility restrictions and announced new guidelines for clinics administering shots.

Without enough vaccine for all Hoosiers, state health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said Wednesday that officials are stressing adherence to the state’s vaccine rollout plan that bases shot eligibility on age, rather than moving up teachers and other essential workers as other states have done.

Several clinics that have “ignored” those guidelines will not receive any more first-dose vaccines, Box said, though she declined to indicate where or how many such vaccination sites would be affected.

Box said state health officials are reaching out to other clinics that have deviated from the eligibility guidelines “to find out why and, to re-educate them about the importance of following the state’s priority list" when scheduling appointments and adding names to waitlists.

“We are not trying to be the vaccine police, that is the last thing we want to be,” Box said. “We are trying to ensure that we have ethical and equitable access to the vaccine across all 92 counties, based on what the data show are the highest risk individuals here in the state of Indiana. We cannot achieve that goal if sites deviate from the guidelines.”

The state health department’s chief medical officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said clinics have additionally been instructed to stop administering first doses of COVID-19 vaccine to people who live in other states to ensure “that every dose received in Indiana goes to Hoosiers.”

Around 19,000 healthcare workers and first responders who work in Indiana but live in other states were inoculated, Weaver said. Those out-of-state workers will still be able to schedule and receive their second dose, but no new appointments will be scheduled for non-residents.

After a winter storm closed more than 80 clinics and disrupted upwards of 43,000 vaccine appointments last week, Box said Indiana has since received all delayed doses of vaccine, and regular weekly allotments have resumed.

State officials anticipated 247,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines this week, Weaver said Wednesday. Accounting for new additional doses of Pfizer vaccine vials, that number is expected to increase to 267,000 beginning next week.

Indiana could also receive vials of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine as early as next week, she continued.

After vaccine eligibility opened to include Hoosiers aged 60 to 64 on Tuesday, Weaver said nearly 112,000 people in the age group have scheduled appointments, accounting for more than a fourth of the eligible population in that age bracket.

Nearly 921,000 Hoosiers have received their first dose of vaccine, an increase of nearly 87,000 from last week, Weaver said. Around 480,000 people across Indiana are now fully vaccinated.

As Indiana’s rates of new COVID-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths continued a steep decline after peaking in early December, state health officials also lowered the risk level for COVID-19 spread in nearly all counties.

The state Department of Health Wednesday reported 1,019 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of Hoosiers known to have the virus up to 658,043.

Health officials also added 14 recent coronavirus deaths to the statewide total, pushing it to 12,467 fatalities including both confirmed and presumed COVID-19 infections.

The state Department of Health’s weekly tracking map updated Wednesday labels no counties in the highest-risk red category for the second week in a row. That is down from 73 of the 92 counties in that category last month.

This week’s map lists only three counties in the next-riskiest orange category, a drop from eight last week and 40 two weeks earlier.

Fifty other counties have moved to the moderate-risk yellow rating, and 39 counties — including Marion, Hancock and Johnson — are labeled in the lowest-risk blue category.

Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that despite “remarkable” progress to state statistics in that last month, he will still extend the state’s health emergency and county-based restrictions for an additional 30 days.

“We were trending in the right direction. We have made remarkable progress in a relatively short period of time,” Holcomb said. “But this is not a mission accomplished moment — far from it.”

___

Casey Smith is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues.

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Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Cases: 1299475

Reported Deaths: 23945
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5206429819
DuPage862251249
Will71644962
Lake64454965
Kane55454753
Winnebago30947458
Madison29795514
St. Clair27122502
McHenry26929278
Peoria21093279
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Sangamon17709229
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Rock Island14240303
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Kendall1229490
LaSalle11739231
Macon10214190
DeKalb9262118
Vermilion9052127
Adams8189117
Williamson7203126
Whiteside6846163
Boone636571
Ogle575078
Clinton569890
Grundy560471
Coles552094
Knox5303137
Jackson484863
Henry470563
Effingham467671
Macoupin458881
Livingston458383
Stephenson451180
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Woodford438862
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Monroe431090
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Randolph409284
Lee395651
Morgan376079
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Bureau352981
Christian351172
Fayette313554
Perry312959
Iroquois290364
Jersey261549
McDonough257143
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Saline249653
Lawrence239125
Shelby224437
Union222940
Crawford209025
Bond197224
Cass194624
Pike176551
Jo Daviess175924
Clark175732
Warren173346
Wayne173051
Hancock172630
Richland171340
Carroll170936
Ford169646
Edgar166439
White166126
Washington162725
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Clay147243
Greene142432
Piatt141514
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De Witt138423
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Marshall98617
Hamilton82315
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Brown6876
Pulaski6807
Stark60723
Edwards55212
Henderson52014
Calhoun5082
Scott4671
Alexander46211
Gallatin4534
Putnam4433
Hardin36612
Pope3053
Out of IL40
Unassigned02292

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Cases: 707111

Reported Deaths: 13216
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion963501718
Lake51613944
Allen39106671
Hamilton34449405
St. Joseph33979539
Elkhart27255432
Vanderburgh22060394
Tippecanoe21765212
Porter17945298
Johnson17507374
Hendricks16786310
Clark12681190
Madison12338337
Vigo12204244
Monroe11443166
LaPorte11118204
Delaware10341184
Howard9652211
Kosciusko9114114
Hancock7964139
Bartholomew7880155
Warrick7681155
Floyd7555176
Wayne6895198
Grant6837171
Boone6541100
Morgan6390138
Dubois6079117
Marshall5779108
Dearborn569876
Cass5683102
Henry5572100
Noble540683
Jackson493069
Shelby478495
Lawrence4338118
Gibson427989
Harrison427670
Clinton418653
Montgomery417786
DeKalb409184
Huntington378680
Whitley377939
Miami372465
Knox365989
Steuben364457
Putnam352560
Jasper350146
Wabash347678
Adams337952
Ripley334568
Jefferson312980
White308154
Daviess289299
Wells286281
Decatur278792
Fayette277162
Greene270685
Posey268533
Scott261053
Clay253244
LaGrange252470
Randolph235280
Washington230731
Spencer227631
Jennings224747
Fountain208445
Sullivan207742
Starke203952
Owen192156
Fulton191439
Jay186029
Carroll185720
Perry180236
Orange177253
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton160943
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130234
Pulaski113645
Newton103534
Brown100040
Crawford97614
Benton96713
Martin82615
Warren79615
Switzerland7698
Union69910
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Unassigned0408