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COVID-19 Vaccines Could Expand To More Hoosiers Next Week

COVID-19 vaccine

A healthcare worker receives a COVID-19 vaccine. (Provided by IU Health)

The chief medical officer of IU Health South Central Region expects Indiana to go into the next phase of vaccinations next week.

Dr. Dan Handel said he believes some county health departments will start getting doses of the vaccines next week, which will allow the vaccination of Hoosiers beyond the health care workers who are most of those eligible in the group labeled 1A.

TUESDAY INDIANA CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS: COVID-19 Hospitalizations Continue Rising In The New Year

As of Tuesday afternoon, the state’s official coronavirus website said First responders including fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, reservists and volunteers who have in-person contact with the public are eligible as well. So are coroners and funeral directors who have contact with infectious material, as well as licensed and unlicensed healthcare workers who have in-person contact with patients or infectious material in any healthcare setting.

The state has said 1B would also include those over 75 years old. But Handel said he believes that could be lowered to 65. The Indiana Department of Health has yet to make that determination.

Handel said IU Health is administering about 500 vaccines a day at IU Health Bloomington Hospital and another 35 a day at its Paoli Hospital. It has used about 52 percent of the doses it was allocated.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 3,772 people have been vaccinated in Bloomington, including 1,500 IU Health employees.

He said IU Health will continue to use mostly the Pfizer vaccine, which must be kept at around 70 degrees below zero. He said county health departments will likely use the Moderna vaccine, which doesn’t have to be kept as cold. The Moderna vaccine requires a second dose 28 days after the first one; the Pfizer doses are 21 days apart.

“I encourage people out there once you get the green light, go onto the state scheduling web site and schedule as quickly as possible,” Handel said.

But then return to doing the things like masking and physical distancing.

“This is not a blank pass to stop wearing your mask or social distancing because we still have to get to herd immunity which is at least 70 percent or more,” he said. “It is a step in the right direction.”

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

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