INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -
As Indiana’s front-line health care workers begin receiving the state’s
first shots of Pfizer’s vaccine against COVID-19, uncertainties remain about
future numbers of incoming doses and who should be inoculated next, health
officials said Wednesday.
hospitals have received doses, Indiana’s chief medical officer, Dr. Lindsay
Weaver, said during Gov. Eric Holcomb’s weekly briefing on the state’s
So far, 46,000 of
the state’s more than 400,000 eligible health care workers have registered
for an appointment to get their first shot, Weaver said. Health care workers
at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne received the state’s inaugural doses on
Monday. Members of the medical staff at IU Methodist Hospital in
Indianapolis became the first in central Indiana to get vaccinated Wednesday
health care personnel - including those in hospitals, long-term care
facilities and emergency medical service providers - are first-up to get the
shots in Indiana, Weaver asked other residents to “please be patient - your
turn is coming as more vaccine arise.”
This week, Indiana
was allocated 55,575 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which health officials
said they expect to make available at an additional 50 hospitals and clinics
around the state in a matter of days.
But exactly how
much more vaccine the state can dole out in the coming weeks is still
unclear. Weaver said the state found out Wednesday that number of new doses
coming in next week is already less than originally anticipated.
“This is a rapidly
evolving situation, and it’s why we have focused our initial vaccination
efforts on front-line health care workers and long-term care facilities,”
Weaver said.” As more vaccine becomes available, we will continue to roll
out eligibility to additional populations.”
Weaver added that
state health officials are considering individuals’ risks of spreading
COVID-19 and how bad their symptoms could be as they decide the next
vaccination plan, submitted to the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention in October, indicated that vulnerable populations would be next
in line for the vaccine. Weaver said earlier this month, however, that
recent discussions have focused on prioritizing essential workers ahead of
those in the vulnerable group.
The Indiana State
Health Department is also crafting a public-facing data dashboard to track
how many people have been vaccinated across the state, Weaver said. The
dashboard is expected to launch within the next few weeks.
commissioner Dr. Kristina Box further noted that while the new vaccine “is
the light at the end of the tunnel, we are still in the tunnel.”
None of Indiana’s
92 counties were recording below 200 cases per 100,000 residents as of
Wednesday, Box said, noting that only three counties were even below 400
cases per 100,000 residents. An additional 125 COVID-19 deaths were reported
by the Indiana State Department of Health Wednesday, pushing the state’s
pandemic death toll past 7,000.
daily statistics update also showed that an additional 6,283 residents have
been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total known number of cases in
the state to 440,850.
With there still
being “a number of months” before the vaccine will be available to every
resident, Box said mask-wearing, social-distancing and staying home when
sick remain critical.
As the holidays
near, Box emphasized that the lowest-risk activities are those held online
or with members of one household. The risk increases anytime people are
exposed to others outside of their immediate household.
“I know this
guidance is hard and yet another reminder of all that we have sacrificed in
2020,” Box said. “I truly believe that 2021 will be better.”