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GARY, Ind. — Governor Holcomb and State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box were in Gary on Tuesday to open a new COVID mass vaccination site.

The clinic was opened in a collaboration with FEMA as part of an effort to get more Hoosiers vaccinated in the coming weeks. Box said the facility will be able to vaccinate about 2,000 Hoosiers a day, which is a rate she says they need to keep up as she expects COVID numbers to start ticking back up slightly.

“We will expect the number that may go up after spring break, after the NCAA, after Easter and we’ve all been together,” she said. “We are seeing our increased cases in our younger population, and that’s why we are trying to get our message out that we want our 20-year-olds, 30-year-olds to get out and get vaccinated.”

The clinic opened on the same day Holcomb’s statewide mask mandate was lifted, leaving the authority on mandating masks up to individual counties and cities from here on out. Holcomb is standing by his decision.

“We have the ability to care for those who are in need and we have the ability to vaccinate those who want to be,” said Holcomb. ” Some may never get vaccinated. And that’s on them too.”

He also said all of his decision-making throughout the pandemic has been entirely free of political influence.

“I’m in a bubble that devours data and that’s how we make our decisions,” he continued. “I am liberated from any political motivation.”

It’s now been a week since the governor expanded vaccine eligibility to Hoosiers 16 and up and since then, the state is averaging around 44,000 doses of vaccine a day. About half of those doses were second doses in order to fully vaccinate people.

As for the single-dose, Johnson & Johnson shot, the state is averaging 3,800 doses of that vaccine over the last seven days.

Indiana is getting another $60 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control to get more coronavirus shots into people’s arms.