2021 Year in Review: Vaccination rollout starts with huge demand, then hits wall

In the beginning, Indiana couldn’t get its hands on enough vaccine doses.

People jammed phone lines to make vaccination appointments. The state’s online portal was deluged with hits. Long lines started forming at makeshift clinics and went down the block.

It was December 2020, and Indiana was just receiving a few thousand doses of the Pfizer vaccine, with hopes that a second one, made by Moderna, would arrive soon. There was still no word on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

In response to an outpouring of demand, Indiana health care officials set up an age-based rollout. The first group of people to get shots: the elderly, starting with Hoosiers age 80 and older, along with front-line health care workers and a few other at-risk occupations.

Dr. Cory Showalter, an Indiana University Health physician, received a COVID vaccine soon after the shots became available. (Photo courtesy of Indiana University Health)

That was followed by a series of age groups in descending order. It took until April for everyone 16 and older to become eligible for a shot.

But by mid-spring, demand began to plateau, and the supply increased as J&J vaccines hit the market and Pfizer and Modera cranked out more doses.

Almost overnight, Indiana health officials had to shift their strategy from asking people to wait their turn to begging holdouts to get a shot. They increased the number of drive-through sites, many at county fairgrounds or at summer festivals. They sent out mobile units to parts of the state with low compliance.

By summer, local hospitals, including Indiana University Health, Community Health Network and Eskenazi Health, began mandating vaccines for their employees. They were soon joined by a raft of large organizations, including Indiana University, Eli Lilly and Co. and Roche Diagnostics.

As the deadlines approached to get fully vaccinated, most organizations reported high compliance. Even so, it meant that some, like IU Health, began parting ways with hundreds of workers.

By Christmas, nearly 63% of adult Hoosiers had been vaccinated, with 36% of adults having received a booster shot.

But among all Hoosiers eligible (including children 5 years and older), only about 52% of the state’s population over the age of 5 had been fully vaccinated. That put Indiana near the bottom of the pack: 41st among all states for the percentage of population fully vaccinated, according to the CDC’s data tracker.

Check out more year-in-review stories from 2021.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

2 thoughts on “2021 Year in Review: Vaccination rollout starts with huge demand, then hits wall

  1. The reality is that anyone that wants to be vaccinated can be. Indiana had one of the most efficient online appointment platforms in the country. The Indiana Department of Health also developed robust mass vaccination clinics at various locations and at various times throughout the State. At this writing, it is my understanding that both testing, vaccinations and boosters are being offered by the continued commitment of this state agency to ensure that services are available to those who need them.

    This “ranking” in the country (41st) is not due to a lack of initiative or effort on the part of our state government and the IDoH who, before COVID, had their hands full assisting with HIV infections and meth addictions within our borders. It is, sadly, due to the ignorance and misinformation that is promulgated through various social platforms and media outlets. The continued effort on the part of these misinformed, ignorant and selfish individuals, entities and social platforms is nothing short of being completely un-American. While they hold up their rights to “make their own choices”, they do so with a seeming disinterest in the responsibilities that come with those rights and an acknowledgement of the entity under which they even exist……the UNITED States of America.

    My thanks to the hard work of all those involved in ensuring that Hoosiers anywhere can gain access to these life-saving vaccines and to those faithful and loyal Hoosiers who care enough about others to get this proven and safe vaccine.

    1. Your first paragraph is correct.

      Beyond that, I can’t possibly think of a more effective way of convincing the unvaxxed to your side of the argument than by calling them “ignorant” “misinformed” and “selfish”. Because the definition of “American” is always joining the herd, right? And of course, considering that you’re clearly someone who gets their news from AP, Washington Post or other legacy news outlets that IBJ does not cite so frequently, do explain to these lowlife scum that you despise why they should be so beholden to media messaging that routinely calls them Not-Sees and white supremacists?

      There’s no unity when it’s one side making all the commands and the other is expected to respond like a slave. Or were we supposed to taking you when you were engaged in the #Resistance and force you to lose your jobs, hide your opinions, or resort to using coding to convey whose team you’re on? The comparisons to Weimar Germany once again seem apt; Germans back then (also quite well educated but totally duped by propaganda) also thought they were better than everyone else and needed a clear scapegoat for their country’s many woes.

      As a vaxxed individual who supports individual freedom (a concept foreign to the tankies, as it’s always been), nothing could make me happier than to see such a large number of Hoosiers digging their heels in, making you apoplectic with rage. May a blood vessel burst in your head. Those who have no capacity for self reflection will always end up becoming the very thing they hate. Your legacy news sources are continuing to suffer precipitous declines in viewership because so few people believe them any more, and COVID is just one reason out of many.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}