IU-Bloomington is expected to open Monroe County’s third vaccination clinic for eligible students and local residents, said Kirk White, the IU COVID-19 response team lead. Pending state registration confirmation, the campus will serve as an additional location option for their COVID-19 vaccine.
The opening date and location of the clinic have not been determined, according to a Friday IU press release.
“I think our track record working this past semester is going to show that we’re going to be able to meet the challenge of helping the community and the region, as well as being a large vaccination site,” White said.
The other two current points of dispensing the vaccine are IU Bloomington Health Hospital and the Monroe Convention Center.
More than 8,500 Monroe County residents have received the COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital location, said Brian Shockney, IU Health South Central Region president. About 1,500 more vaccines are expected to be distributed out of the 11,225 given to the hospital by the end of the hospital’s clinic on Saturday.
Next week, the hospital will add more vaccine slots and vaccinate 700 people a day, Shockney said.
The Monroe Convention Center began administering vaccines on Monday. The convention center clinic vaccinated 70 people Monday, 289 on Wednesday and will vaccinate about 140 people Saturday, Penny Caudill, Monroe County Health Department administrator, said.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton said about 54% of Bloomington firefighters have received the COVID-19 vaccine, with some of them already having received their second injection. He said many police officers have been vaccinated, but he did not have exact numbers available.
Caudill said the vaccine schedule, which is not set by Monroe County, is determined by the amount of vaccine doses available and when doses can be shipped. People attempting to schedule a time to receive the vaccine should check the site regularly for open slots because they can change, Caudill said.
Shockney said the Indiana State Department of Health will ship vaccines at the beginning of each week based on demand and the number of appointments scheduled, so people should continue to fill spots when they are open.
Those eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine are Hoosiers over 70, long-term care residents, first responders and health care workers who have in-person contact with patients or infectious material in any health care setting. The next group of people expected to receive the vaccine are Indiana residents within 60-69 years of age, Caudill said.
Shockney said IU Health continues to see minimal side effects from the vaccine, including a sore arm lasting about 12 hours.
Shockey said there has been a decline in the volume of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Monroe County over the past week. However, 81% of IU Health Bloomington’s intensive care unit beds are occupied as of Thursday.
The Indiana Department of Health reported this week Hoosier deaths were two to three times the volume of deaths per day than in April 2020. Indiana has seen 58% of its COVID-19 related deaths in the last 90 days.
“It’s important we continue to understand the severity of this virus,” Shockney said. “The level of our ICU patients and the severity of our patients is higher than we have seen in the entire pandemic.”
It’s important to continue to wear a mask and practice social distancing and good hygiene, even after receiving the vaccine, he said.