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(INDIANAPOLIS) — About half of all Hoosiers are either vaccinated against COVID-19 or in the

process of doing it. The state health department is trying to reach the other half.

State health commissioner Kristina Box says about 20% of Hoosiers don’t trust or don’t

want the vaccine. But she says another 20-or-30% have simply put it off, either because

side effects would have interfered with final exams or other commitments or because it wasn’t


Health officials are trying to reach both groups, but Box says the true vaccine skeptics are best

reached by those close to them. She says the health department is working to eliminate

convenience barriers for that second group.

Health department chief medical officer Lindsay Weaver says people have been more willing to get

the shot when it’s offered in places where they’re comfortable, from churches to community

centers. She says some people say they’re waiting till they can get vaccinated at their doctor’s

office. That’s tricky because of the vaccine’s ultracold storage requirements and the desire to avoid

wasting unused doses, but Weaver says the state hopes to make that happen by the end of May.

And Weaver says while the state has been promoting the vaccine since it became available to the

oldest Hoosiers in January, some people don’t listen to the news or read social media. While

some people complained about text alerts promoting mass vaccination clinics in Gary and at the

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Weaver says vaccinations doubled at both locations after the alerts

went out — she says many people didn’t know they were happening until the alerts went out. She

says the state may use that method again, but “sparingly.”

Box says vaccination rates are lowest in rural areas, many of which have few vaccination sites.

She says she believes vaccine hesitancy is more of an issue there than access, but says the

health department is working to expand availability.

Box says many of the reasons people give for not wanting the vaccine are false. She says even

those who have already had the virus can still be reinfected — while it’s not clear how long the

vaccine’s protection lasts, it’s believed to be longer than that of the antibodies your body creates

while you’re sick. And while people with underlying health conditions are most at risk of serious

illness, Box notes the virus can still rock those who are otherwise healthy, or thought they were.

She says studies are revealing longer-term ailments even among people who don’t require

hospitalization during the initial infection.

The vaccine hasn’t been approved yet for kids under 16, though Pfizer is seeking approval for kids

as young as 12. Box says the state is talking with schools about setting up vaccination clinics

over the summer if the FDA grants that approval.

Of those already eligible, one-third have been fully vaccinated. Another 12% have gotten the

first dose of a two-dose vaccine. Weaver says about 140,000 people have made

appointments for their first dose — that’s about 3%. And most clinics are now giving

vaccines on a walk-in basis, without requiring an appointment.