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Hospital Officials Look At What Vaccinating Public For COVID Could Look Like Long Term

hospital sign

(Tyler Lake, WTIU/WFIU News)

IU Health South Central Region Chief Medical Officer Dr. Dan Handel is beginning to see elements of what a post-COVID-19 new normal could look like.

He said Tuesday that we’re not nearly there yet and encouraged people to keep their guard up. But when he considers the progress made the last year, he sees possibilities.

He said wider use of telemedicine should stay in place. He said getting older people comfortable with technology needs to go together with making quality internet accessible in all communities.

“That really becomes a game changer,” he said. “People who otherwise have great difficulty coming to hospitals, coming to clinics, if we can provide care out to where they are … it can be transformative in terms of how we deliver care.”

He also said he envisions vaccines becoming more accessible. IU Health is focused on the Pfizer vaccine now because it has the freezers needed to keep the two-shot vaccine cold enough. But he sees future possibilities for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in particular. It can be administered in one shot and does not have to be kept as cold as Pfizer.

He said IU Health officials are trying to figure out if the shot could be available in primary care physician offices.

“Like people come in just like they’ve always come in and gotten their flu shot during their regular appointment, we hope it becomes just as regular as that,” he said.

Until it does, Handel’s advice stays the same: wear a mask, stay six feet apart, wash your hands regularly and get vaccinated when your turn comes up.

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