INDIANA (WEHT)–President Biden signed ten executive orders putting his national COVID-19 strategy into play. Those orders include increasing vaccinations and testing, reopening schools and businesses, and increasing the use of facemasks. In Indiana, only first responders, healthcare workers, and people 70 years and older are able to be vaccinated. Although, throughout parts of the Tri-State, plans to increase vaccination efforts are in the works.
“70 to 80-year-olds only make up 10-11% of our actual cases here in Vanderburgh County, but account for 60-70% of the deaths,” explained Vanderburgh County Health Department Administrator Joe Gries.
The Vanderburgh County Health Department now has an on call list for those considered to be high risk who are younger than 70-years-old. These people will be called if the health department has any extra vaccines at the end of their clinics. This way no vaccines go to waste.
“We are going to try to ramp up our efforts within those groups here over the next couple of weeks. We have some extra doses we are going to get those out,” said Gries.
As long as you live and work in Indiana, you can be vaccinated in any county. Deaconess Health System leaders say they have the capacity to take on more appointments in Indiana, but have been told by the state not to increase their efforts yet. They are hoping this changes as more vaccines are produced.
“We were only doing about 550 vaccines a day and we’ve expanded that to almost 1,000,” said Deaconess Health System Pharmacy Service Line Manager Brian Spencer. “There’s a third vaccine coming to the market hopefully by the end of February, the Johnson & Johnson one shot vaccine.”
In Dubois County, vaccination efforts are already kicking into high gear with 1,200 people being vaccinated on Saturday at Jasper Middle School. They are taking appointments for this vaccination event now.
The Dubois County Health Department needs more workers to make Saturday’s vaccination event possible, but some community members are ready to fill that need.
“We are blessed that we have a community that wants to step up and help us,” said Dubois County Health Department Administrator Shawn Werner.
(This story was originally published on January 21, 2021)