JASPER, Ind. (WEHT) – Front line health care workers in Dubois County become the latest to get the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

It happens as the county experiences some of the highest rates of new cases in southwest Indiana.

The front line workers at Memorial Hospital in Jasper become some of the first in Dubois County to receive the first dose of the vaccine, and becoming the latest in the region and the country to get some protection against the virus.

“Makes me feel mentally better,” says Mac McCleerey, who also wondered when he would be able to get the vaccine.

“Just when? The question is when?” he responded. The other question he had is how long could it take to get enough people vaccinated.

“There’s millions of people,” he said. “How long is it going to take to have enough vaccines for everybody? What period of time is that going to be?”

Memorial received a thousand doses of the vaccine this week, and it expects another shipment next week. It happens while Dubois County reports the highest seven day positivity rate in the region this week, at just under 19%, which Shawn Werner of the Dubois County Health Department says has lead to an overloaded contact tracing program.

“The contact tracing from the state has been abbreviated right now, so we really don’t get the information, where they actually think they got it as readily available as we did in the past,” he explained.

The health department is still working on vaccination plans for the next step, Phase 1B, which is for first responders and other health care workers not in hospital settings. The state will determine how many doses go out in that phase, and who specifically will get them.

“We’re basically just looking for the amount of doses we are going to get and who we’re going to get those doses to, so we can start sending invites to those individuals as we get them,” Werner said.

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(This story was originally published on December 18, 2020)