Indiana expands virus shots to
those 80 and older this week
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Coronavirus
vaccinations will start becoming available to Indiana residents 80 and older
starting Friday as state health officials start expanding access to those
The next vaccination steps
announced Wednesday come after vaccinations
of Indiana health care workers began Dec. 16
and extended to nursing home residents and staffers last week.
State health officials said that they
plan to start offering vaccinations in the coming weeks next to those 70 and
older and then 60 and older. Those age groups make up 93% of Indiana's more
than 8,700 coronavirus-related deaths since March.
"We are really concentrating on saving
lives and reducing hospitalizations," said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the state
health department's chief medical officer. "If we vaccinate every Hoosier
that's 60 and older, that's 1.5 million people and so it'll be quite some
time before we get that vaccine in order to do it."
Notification postcards about
scheduling vaccination appointments will be sent out to some 250,000 people
ages 80 and older, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said.
Appointments will be available in all
92 counties and can be made starting Friday for those 80 and older at the
website ourshot.in.gov or by calling the state's 2-1-1 telephone assistance
Vaccinations are also now available
for police officers, emergency medical services staffers and firefighters.
No dates are being set for when those
in their 70s and 60s can receive vaccines were announced, although Weaver
said the aim was to have that expansion in February.
The state health department reported
that about 52,000 people received the first dose of a two-shot vaccination
in the past week, pushing Indiana's first dose total to 128,000 through
Tuesday. Nearly 600 people in the past week became Indiana's first ones to
complete the two-shot vaccinations.
The vaccination expansion comes
as the state on Wednesday added a dozen more Indiana counties to those at
highest risk level of COVID-19 spread. The
health department's updated weekly tracking map now
labels 57 of the state's 92 counties the most dangerous red category, up
from 45 a week ago. All other counties are in the next-riskiest orange
rating of the four-level system.
The department's daily update added 80
coronavirus deaths that occurred in recent days to the state's pandemic
toll. Indiana's seven-day rolling average of COVID-19 deaths has declined to
the low 70s per day after reaching a pandemic average peak of 85 in
The state's coronavirus
hospitalizations of about 2,800 are down about 20% since the beginning of
Gov. Eric Holcomb said he believed the
vaccinations plan was appropriate as two-thirds of Indiana's COVID-19
hospitalizations are of those ages 60 and older.
"Taking this by age eligibility, will
keep this not just methodical, but it will eat into where we have the most
vulnerable Hoosiers at risk," Holcomb said.