Snowstorm disrupts COVID-19 vaccine clinics, delays expansion to 60-64 age group

This week’s snowstorm threw a wrench into Indiana’s vaccination program, causing more than 80 clinics to close their doors for at least one day and disrupting more than 43,000 appointments that will need to be rescheduled.

The high snows also caused a delay in the shipment of vaccine doses from Moderna, which will likely disrupt thousands of other appointments, which will need to be rescheduled in coming days, state health officials said Wednesday during Gov. Eric Holcomb’s weekly press conference.

“We have worked with those clinics to reschedule their patients as quickly as possible,” Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the state health department’s chief medical officer said. “This includes new appointments and adding extra days to the clinic schedules to ensure there are no delays in getting vaccines in arms.”

Both developments have caused the state to delay offering vaccines to people in the next age group, 60-64, for about a week. Officials said they will announce when they have enough doses on hand to expand vaccinations to that age group, which comprises about 432,000 people.

Holcomb said federal officials, which control the supply and delivery of vaccine doses, have announced a small increase to states, but he did not say how much. Indiana has received about 100,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines per week for the past month or so.

In related developments:

  • Health officials said about 17,000 people from out of state, mostly Illinois and Kentucky have received shots in Indiana. Many of them are health care workers. People are eligible for vaccines here as long as they work or live in Indiana and fall into one of the eligible groups (age 65 or older, or frontline health care worker or first responder.
  • The state said that 172 doses of vaccine, out of the 1.3 million doses received, have been wasted. Common reasons were a broken syringe or vial. That amounts to about 0.01% waste ratio.
  • Indiana has identified 660 deaths from COVID-19 at nursing homes and other long-term-care facilities that weren’t properly reported by location, although they were included in the state totals. The state health department said it identified those deaths in reviewing data and matching deaths to death certificates. The department said it planned to update the long-term-care dashboard Thursday to reflect that those deaths occurred in those facilities. As of Wednesday, the total number of COVID-19 deaths in Indiana long-term-care facilities was 5,212.

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