INDIANAPOLIS –– Governor Holcomb and state health officials, including State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box and ISDH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver, provided an update on Indiana’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic Wednesday.
During the update, Dr. Box said Indiana is working to adhere to the federal directive of opening vaccinations to all adults by May 1, but that will depend on vaccine supply. The state is expecting an increase in supply during the last week of March.
She added that while Indiana is administering over 85% of the vaccines it receives (based on weekly snapshots), which is above the national average, the state has received several thousand fewer doses per 100 residents that other states. Officials say they will continue to have conversations with federal partners on getting Indiana more vaccine doses.
Leaders also provided an updated on the vaccination rate of different age groups. The chart below shows that younger eligible age groups have been vaccinated or scheduled for vaccination at a lower rate than the older groups.
However, Dr. Box said recent trends are encouraging as the 50-59 age group has seen a 12% increase in signups since last Wednesday, and 23% of the 45-49 age group has signed up within the first two days of eligibility. Gov. Holcomb stressed the important role of word-of-mouth encouragement when increasing the vaccination rate among younger populations.
This week, state health officials made educators and support staff eligible to receive the vaccine statewide, and at least 20,000 have made appointments through the state system since Monday. This is not a complete picture, however, as some educators and support staff may have already been vaccinated through the federal pharmacy program or made appointments through age eligibility.
Dr. Lindsay Weaver said the state is highlighting on its high-risk portal that data suggests pregnant women are at higher risk of complications from COVID-19 infection. More than 100,000 Hoosiers with conditions that put them at higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID have now had their information entered into the state’s secure portal, and those individuals will be receiving unique links to sign up for the vaccine, Dr. Weaver added.
Dr. Box said officials continue to be encouraged by the state’s low positivity rate and ongoing decrease in hospitalizations.
Gov. Holcomb added that he will deliver an address detailing Indiana’s plan on how it will handle the COVID-19 pandemic going forward on Tuesday, March 23 at 4:30 p.m.