Questions remain about Indiana’s next COVID-19 vaccine doses

As Indiana’s front-line health care workers begin receiving the state’s first shots of Pfizer’s vaccine against COVID-19, uncertainties remain about future numbers of incoming doses and who should be inoculated next, health officials said Wednesday.

Posted: Dec 16, 2020 6:49 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — As Indiana’s front-line health care workers begin receiving the state’s first shots of Pfizer’s vaccine against COVID-19, uncertainties remain about future numbers of incoming doses and who should be inoculated next, health officials said Wednesday.

Five Indiana hospitals have received doses, Indiana’s chief medical officer, Dr. Lindsay Weaver, said during Gov. Eric Holcomb’s weekly briefing on the state’s coronavirus response.

So far, 46,000 of the state’s more than 400,000 eligible health care workers have registered for an appointment to get their first shot, Weaver said. Health care workers at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne received the state’s inaugural doses on Monday. Members of the medical staff at IU Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis became the first in central Indiana to get vaccinated Wednesday morning.

While front-line health care personnel — including those in hospitals, long-term care facilities and emergency medical service providers — are first-up to get the shots in Indiana, Weaver asked other residents to “please be patient — your turn is coming as more vaccine arise.”

This week, Indiana was allocated 55,575 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which health officials said they expect to make available at an additional 50 hospitals and clinics around the state in a matter of days.

But exactly how much more vaccine the state can dole out in the coming weeks is still unclear. Weaver said the state found out Wednesday that number of new doses coming in next week is already less than originally anticipated.

“This is a rapidly evolving situation, and it’s why we have focused our initial vaccination efforts on front-line health care workers and long-term care facilities,” Weaver said.” As more vaccine becomes available, we will continue to roll out eligibility to additional populations.”

Weaver added that state health officials are considering individuals’ risks of spreading COVID-19 and how bad their symptoms could be as they decide the next distribution lineup.

Indiana’s original vaccination plan, submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in October, indicated that vulnerable populations would be next in line for the vaccine. Weaver said earlier this month, however, that recent discussions have focused on prioritizing essential workers ahead of those in the vulnerable group.

The Indiana State Health Department is also crafting a public-facing data dashboard to track how many people have been vaccinated across the state, Weaver said. The dashboard is expected to launch within the next few weeks.

State health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box further noted that while the new vaccine “is the light at the end of the tunnel, we are still in the tunnel.”

None of Indiana’s 92 counties were recording below 200 cases per 100,000 residents as of Wednesday, Box said, noting that only three counties were even below 400 cases per 100,000 residents. An additional 125 COVID-19 deaths were reported by the Indiana State Department of Health Wednesday, pushing the state’s pandemic death toll past 7,000.

The department’s daily statistics update also showed that an additional 6,283 residents have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total known number of cases in the state to 440,850.

With there still being “a number of months” before the vaccine will be available to every resident, Box said mask-wearing, social-distancing and staying home when sick remain critical.

As the holidays near, Box emphasized that the lowest-risk activities are those held online or with members of one household. The risk increases anytime people are exposed to others outside of their immediate household.

“I know this guidance is hard and yet another reminder of all that we have sacrificed in 2020,” Box said. “I truly believe that 2021 will be better.”

___

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

Cases: 1309459

Reported Deaths: 24018
CountyCasesDeaths
Cook5245929847
DuPage869211254
Will72209968
Lake64862965
Kane55955753
Winnebago31341460
Madison29912515
St. Clair27220504
McHenry27207278
Peoria21504284
Champaign19902139
Sangamon17870230
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Kendall1241790
LaSalle11835232
Macon10284190
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Vermilion9101127
Adams8231117
Williamson7229126
Whiteside6913164
Boone642971
Ogle579978
Clinton570890
Grundy562971
Coles554894
Knox5344137
Jackson486763
Henry474863
Effingham468471
Livingston461883
Macoupin460681
Stephenson454280
Woodford443063
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Monroe431790
Jefferson4167119
Randolph409684
Lee400151
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Bureau355181
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Union223040
Crawford209325
Bond198924
Cass194824
Pike177451
Jo Daviess176824
Clark176732
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Richland172140
Carroll171736
Ford170746
Edgar166939
White166526
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Clay147343
Mason142842
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Jasper114317
Marshall99817
Hamilton82415
Schuyler7095
Brown6916
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Edwards55812
Henderson52114
Calhoun5122
Scott4691
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Gallatin4534
Putnam4483
Hardin37012
Pope3073
Out of IL70
Unassigned02296

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 710607

Reported Deaths: 13248
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion968581722
Lake51908949
Allen39337672
Hamilton34643406
St. Joseph34306543
Elkhart27477432
Vanderburgh22099394
Tippecanoe21927213
Porter17987301
Johnson17571374
Hendricks16854310
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Vigo12240244
Monroe11510166
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Howard9698211
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Warrick7702155
Floyd7568176
Wayne6917198
Grant6855171
Boone6568100
Morgan6414138
Dubois6091117
Marshall5801109
Dearborn571276
Cass5698104
Henry5588101
Noble543683
Jackson494172
Shelby481395
Lawrence4349118
Gibson429589
Harrison429171
Clinton420953
Montgomery418986
DeKalb413284
Whitley382239
Huntington379780
Miami373365
Knox367189
Steuben367157
Putnam353460
Jasper352546
Wabash348178
Adams338253
Ripley335469
Jefferson318080
White308854
Daviess289999
Wells286881
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Fayette277362
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Posey269533
Scott261553
Clay255445
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Washington231631
Spencer228131
Jennings225448
Fountain209345
Sullivan208042
Starke206252
Owen192756
Fulton192140
Jay186429
Carroll186120
Perry181436
Orange178353
Rush170824
Vermillion166343
Franklin166035
Tipton161543
Parke144616
Blackford133931
Pike130734
Pulaski114345
Newton104234
Brown100740
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Benton97413
Martin83115
Warren80215
Switzerland7698
Union70110
Ohio56011
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