Indiana to make vaccines available to 80+ age group starting Friday

Hoosiers 80 and older can register for a COVID-19 vaccination starting Friday, with other age groups to follow in descending order over the next few weeks, as Indiana begins to make vaccine available to the general public.

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday that vaccinations could be available the same day as registration, depending on demand, or Hoosiers could schedule an appointment a few days ahead at a hospital or local health department.

The announcement comes as Indiana has come under criticism for administering vaccinations more slowly than neighboring states. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana has administered about 28% of its allotted doses so far, compared to 45% in Ohio, 35% in Kentucky and 32% in Illinois.

But Indiana health officials said those figures lag by several days, and Indiana will have administered close to 40% of its allotted doses by the end of Wednesday, or about 140,000 doses.

“Just like every other kind of reporting function, there is a delay in what they’re reporting,” Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the state’s chief medical officer, said at Holcomb’s weekly press briefing.

Weaver said she expects the state to receive about 78,000 doses of vaccines each week.

For weeks, Indiana has reserved its allotment of vaccines to front-line health care workers, such as doctors, nurses and lab workers, along with residents and staff of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities.

Wednesday’s announcement marked the first guidance Indiana officials have given on when others could begin to get vaccinated.

Health officials said Hoosiers can visit starting at 9 a.m. Friday, then register for an appointment. Vaccinations are free and family members can register for a senior. Hoosiers can also register by calling 2-1-1 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, starting Friday.

Hoosiers 80 and older account for 3.8% of the state’s population but more than 19% of hospitalizations and 52% of COVID-19 deaths.

Holcomb predicted it would take “weeks, not months” to progress through the 60-69 age group and throw open the vaccinations to the general population.

“I’m bullish on that,” he said at his weekly press conference.

The state will announce on the website when it is ready to move from one 10-year age group to the next, in descending order, starting at 80 and above and moving down in 10-year increments.

“We really would like to move through this as quickly as possible,” Weaver said. “I hope that there’s such good uptake that it’s not just a couple of weeks. We’re really looking to February that we’re going to be expanding it. But if it comes sooner, it comes sooner. It (depends on) how many people are stepping forward to get vaccinated.”

Dr. Virginia Caine, director of the Marion County Department of Public Health, said the 80-70-60 age groups was the right approach to administering vaccines.

“It targets the population that is most likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19, or die,” she said.

She said Indiana needs to do all it can to protect the most vulnerable Hoosiers, by putting the elderly at the front of the line.

Indiana began vaccinating health care workers on Dec. 16, and later opened vaccinations to first responders and corrections officers. Pharmacy giants Walgreens and CVS began vaccinating residents and staff of long-term-health care facilities on Dec. 28.

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7 thoughts on “Indiana to make vaccines available to 80+ age group starting Friday

  1. I predict the website will be down in less than a minute. I am concerned with all the 80+ in nursing homes, assisted living, and independent living situations. We can help our 87 year old fragile mother but no one else is out there to help if she did not have computer savvy kids. These residences are known and I wonder if there is any targeted help being given. It is not just the nursing homes that contain medically fragile 80+ year olds.

    1. Hoosiers can also register by calling 2-1-1 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., seven days a week, starting Friday.
      Hope that helps!

    2. @Ana: If the web site goes down quickly, it won’t necessarily be an issue of volume but more than likely a matter of code quality.

  2. Interesting that the story says that residents of long term care facilities have already been getting vaccinated for weeks. I personally know 3 people, all in their 80s and 90s who are residents in different long term care facilities in Indiana and none of them have been vaccinated yet. I heard just this morning that one of those facilities will not even start vaccinations of their residents until the 18th.

  3. This is fundamentally flawed. Everyone wants to get back to some semblance of normal and the Governor and his quack of a medical director feel rolling the vaccine out in waves by age is the best approach!?!? How many 80 year old’s….or even 60+ year old’s do you know that are still in the work force in large numbers?? Geriatrics do not make the Economy run and this approach is going to cause our current situation in restaurants and LIFE IN GENERAL to be even slower to recover.

    1. 52% of the deaths are age 80 and older. Maybe you will feel differently when you are 80.

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