(INDIANAPOLIS) — Indiana hopes to make all Hoosier adults eligible for the coronavirus vaccine by
May, but state leaders warn it depends on whether there are enough doses available to do it.
Indiana currently allows anyone 45 and up to get the vaccine. It’s also available to school and
health care workers, first responders, and about 100,000 people with specific health
conditions. The health department has just expanded eligibility to pregnant women.
President Biden has directed states to fully open eligibility by May 1, and a handful of states,
including Ohio, have announced they’re dropping all vaccination restrictions. But Governor
Holcomb notes while Ohio made that announcement this week, it won’t actually lift age limits until
March 29. He says other states are even later. He says they’re basing those timelines on the
vaccine doses they expect to receive, not what they know they’ll get.
Indiana health commissioner Kris Box says she expects a significant surge in shipments of the
one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine in about two weeks. Holcomb plans a statewide address
next Tuesday to discuss the status of Indiana’s fight against the pandemic and where he believes
it’s headed next.
The health department has tweaked Indiana’s vaccination signup portal to help people get
appointments faster. While some of the nearly 500 vaccine sites are booked days or weeks in
advance, a handful have lots of openings to get in right away, mostly in central and southern
Indiana. The website has broken out those locations on a separate tab as “high volume” sites. The
list includes two in Indy, Saint Vincent Hospital and IU Health’s Neuroscience Center, as well as
the Hendricks County Fairgrounds in Danville.
Holcomb and Box say even when there’s enough vaccine to go around, there are still people who
need to be persuaded to take the vaccine. About one in four Hoosiers between ages 45 and 49
have already signed up in the two days since they were added to the eligibility list, but that’s
somewhat slower than the pace in older age groups. Box says she expects as people begin
returning to regular doctor visits, doctors will be able to address some lingering doubts. And she
says the department is still doing outreach to groups with significant rates of “vaccine hesitancy,”
including younger Hoosiers and African-Americans.
Box says getting most of the population vaccinated is the path back to more normal activities.
And she says the lurking threat of more infectious virus mutations makes it important to get
vaccinated as quickly as possible.