INDIANA (WFIE) - The Indiana State Department of Health announced Tuesday morning that Hoosiers 60 and older are now eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.
State health officials say this expansion will make the vaccine available to an additional 432,000 Hoosiers.
Later Tuesday, they said nearly 91,000 Hoosiers ages 60-64 scheduled their vaccines in the first eight hours of eligibility.
”You know our vaccine efforts, we are getting through the population. Indiana actually reported, this was actually a couple of weeks ago, that 60 percent of the 60 and 70 year olds have already been vaccinated. So as we get more through those high-risk populations and continue to get vaccines, Pfizer and Moderna are ramping up their production. We’re getting more vaccines from the manufacturers that we can continue to move through this phase,” Brian Spencer, the Pharmacy Service Line Manager for Deaconess said.
They say additional groups will be added as more vaccine becomes available.
According to state leaders, vaccine appointments for this new age group will be available over the next four to six weeks to align with the state receiving its expected weekly vaccine allocation.
Hoosiers who cannot find an appointment at the nearest location are encouraged to look at other sites in neighboring counties. Appointments are being added regularly as vaccine supplies permit.
To schedule a vaccine, visit https://ourshot.in.gov and select a location.
Hoosiers who do not have a computer or cell phone or those who need assistance scheduling an appointment can call 211 or contact one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging or AARP. State health officials say nearly 70 libraries around the state also are helping Hoosiers schedule their appointments.
Deaconess officials say they have appointments available as early next week.
In Vanderburgh County, health department officials say their first appointment for the new age group will be on March 20.
”It does take some time. You have to go on, get your appointment. I think when they did the 65 plus they signed up 60-65 thousand in the very first day for those appointments. So people may have to have a little bit of a wait time online,” Joe Gries, with the Vanderburgh County Health Department explained.
If you search different locations, you could get your first shot earlier that.
Although vaccination guidelines are up to the state department of health, local officials say they’re hearing what the next eligible group could be.
”Right now what they’ve indicated is after the 60 plus they could open it up to people with underlying health conditions. So anybody who is under the age of 60 but has underlying health conditions that have been affected by this virus more adversely, they’ll open it up to that group, then maybe 55 and down to 50,” Gries said.
Also Tuesday, the Indiana State Department of Health reported 716 new coronavirus cases and 44 more deaths.
That brings the total in the state to 657,037 confirmed cases and 12,025 total deaths.
The maps shows five new deaths in Dubois County and two new deaths in both Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.
It shows 29 new cases in Vanderburgh County, five new cases in Dubois County, eight new cases in Warrick County, three new cases in Perry County, three new cases in Posey County, one new case in Gibson County, zero new cases in Spencer County, and one new case in Pike County.
Here are the coronavirus totals in our part of Indiana.
- Vanderburgh Co. - 21,115 cases, 377 deaths
- Dubois Co. - 5,868 cases, 111 deaths
- Warrick Co. - 7,369 cases, 146 deaths
- Perry Co. - 1,724 cases, 35 deaths
- Posey Co. - 2,597 cases, 31 deaths
- Gibson Co. - 3,996 cases, 81 deaths
- Spencer Co. - 2,158 cases, 30 deaths
- Pike Co. - 1,272 cases, 32 deaths