Indiana will Friday start registering Hoosiers who are 80 years of age or older to receive a COVID-19 vaccination. The Indiana State Department of Health says that age group accounts for about 4% of the state’s population, but about 52% of all COVID-related deaths in the state.
“And so, taking this by age eligibility, it will keep this not just methodical, but it will eat into where we have the most vulnerable Hoosiers at risk,” said Governor Eric Holcomb during his weekly COVID news conference.
A specific timeline was not given, but the health department says the state will then offer the treatment to 70+-year-old residents, followed by those 60 and older.
“If you add in those 60 and above, you’ve accounted for the vast majority, or about 93%, of our deaths,” said Dr. Kris Box, commissioner of the Indiana State Department of Health.
Dr. Lindsay Weaver, who is Chief Medical Officer for ISDH, says 128,000 Hoosiers have received the first dose of the vaccination. The next round for those recipients will occur in about three weeks.
She expects 300,000 people will have received a dose by the end of January.
“For the many Hoosiers who are still asking when can I get my shot? Please know that our goal is to get a vaccine to everyone who wants one as quickly as possible,” said Weaver. “The only vaccines available right now are those manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna. The Johnson and Johnson and AstraZeneca vaccines are likely weeks or even months away.”
To date, the state has received about 350,000 doses. The state population is 6.4 million people.
Box says Indiana is starting to see the impact of holiday travel in the number of positive cases. She says the overall positivity rate has increased from 15.8% on December the 29th to now 16.3% today.
“This suggests we’re starting to see that post-holiday surge that we’ve been bracing for,” said Box.
While the administration laid out the updated game plan for vaccinations, Holcomb says Hoosiers must not get complacent.
“We have to continue to practice good public health measures. And you know, vigilance is just as key as the vaccine. One doesn’t replace the other,” said Holcomb.
The state has given the vaccine effort its own moniker, “It’s our shot, Hoosiers.” The website will be active on Friday morning at 9 a.m.
View the full news conference in the video below: