Indiana to limit next eligible age group for vaccines to 65-69 due to huge demand

Demand for COVID-19 vaccines in Indiana is overwhelming supply, with clinics around the state filling nearly all available appointments through the end of January, prompting the state to cut the next eligible age group in half.

State health officials said Thursday afternoon that because of limited supply and huge demand, the next eligible age group for vaccines will be 65 to 69, smaller than the previously announced 60 to 69 age group. But officials did not say when the 65-69 age group would be allowed to start scheduling appointments.

“I get regularly asked to provide a timeline for when additional groups will be eligible for vaccine,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. “Right now, we are unable to predict when that will happen. We find out on a Tuesday what our allocation for that week is and we work based on those numbers.”

For now, Indiana is continuing to vaccinate Hoosiers over 70, along with health care workers, first responders and residents and staff of nursing homes. As of Thursday, clinics across Indiana have administered approximately 450,000 doses, with 87,506 people getting both doses..

Altogether, the state has more than 270,000 appointments scheduled for first and second doses through the end of January, said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, chief medical officer at the state health department.

“We are adding appointments into February by the minute,” she added.

In the four days between last Friday and Monday, the state booked more than 55,000 appointments. More than  50% of Hoosiers 70 and older have been scheduled to get their vaccine, state health officials said.

Indiana has not had to cancel any appointments in recent weeks, unlike some other states and cities. New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday that the city had to cancel 23,000 appointments for people awaiting their first dose this week. The New York Police Department suspended first-shot vaccinations for its officers, The Associated Press reported.

Indiana officials say they are trying to keep a close match between the doses they expect to receive next week, which is about 80,000, and the number of appointments they make available. That’s one reason the state has started to cut back on the size of the next age group eligible for the vaccine, Box said.

“Many of our local health departments continue to clamor for more doses because of the interest in their communities,” she said. “Rest assured that we will continue to request every single dose that the United States government allows us to access. And we will get those doses out as quickly as possible.”

Gov. Eric Holcomb said he has been in touch with the Biden administration to try to get more doses, but it’s a feat that 49 other governors are also undergoing. Indiana is now administering about 28,000 vaccinations a day at several hundred sites across the state.

“We need more,” Holcomb said. “I may sound like a toddler, but we need more. … We have built out a system in Indiana that it’s in every county and is working.”

On Thursday, Holcomb also announced that he would be extending his executive order, set to expire Sunday, for another week. After that, he said he would reevaluate how the state is managing the spread of the virus.

The state’s positivity rate, number of deaths and hospitalizations have all started to decline, but Holcomb said it may be too early to tell whether those trends will continue.

The current executive order outlines restrictions based on the rate of infection in each county. Under the county-by-county system, each county is assigned a color each week that is based on its seven-day positivity rate and number of infected individuals per 100,000. Red indicates the highest level of spread.

“We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves; we still have most counties in red,” Holcomb said. “While I may be giddy right now just looking at trends and trajectories, we’re still over double digits positivity rate.”

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9 thoughts on “Indiana to limit next eligible age group for vaccines to 65-69 due to huge demand

  1. I am struggling to understand the decision to not allow individuals with compromised immune systems, say <4000 as the CDC has outlined. I appreciate the speed at which we are working and I am proud of our states execution but the risk is higher for the comprised than an active, otherwise healthy 65 year old.

  2. Don’t worry they just changed the covid test the were testing way to high so now its a non issue its all going away now that The new power is in charge.

    1. Yeah, can’t wait for his liberal policies to take money out of my pocket and give it to Antifa supporters!

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