Indiana Daily Student

Monroe County plans to open new COVID-19 vaccination site next week

<p>Members of the Monroe County Board of Health discuss vaccine rollout in Monroe County Jan. 5 over Zoom. </p>

Members of the Monroe County Board of Health discuss vaccine rollout in Monroe County Jan. 5 over Zoom.

Monroe County will use the Monroe Convention Center in Bloomington to administer the vaccines for COVID-19 beginning next week. 

Amy Meek, a nursing supervisor with IU Health, and the Monroe County Board of Health said she expects the clinic at the Convention Center — which will be run by the county, not IU Health — to begin administering the Moderna vaccines Jan. 13. 

“It’s the light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been waiting for,” Meek said in a Monroe County Board of Health meeting Tuesday. 

Those who need the second does of the vaccine will be prioritized ahead of people who have not received the first dose, Meek said. That could slow down the rate at which more people get the vaccine in Monroe County as there are only so many appointment slots available at the hospital and Convention Center. 

IU Health Bloomington is currently the main vaccination site in Monroe County and the only site in Bloomington. The county is still vaccinating tier 1A healthcare workers, averaging a little more than 500 vaccines per day, Meek said.

Related: [IU to distribute COVID-19 vaccine to students, faculty, staff for free]

Meek said the hospital has the capacity to administer 588 doses per day. The hospital will remain a vaccination site at least through March along with the Monroe County public clinic, according to the Board of Health. It’s unclear whether the hospital will remain a vaccination site after March. 

Since Dec. 21, the hospital has vaccinated over 4,000 people, including 1,600 IU employees. The Convention Center will start by adding about 300 vaccines per day, bringing Bloomington’s total to around 800 doses per day.

Related: [Indiana COVID-19 cases have been rising since Christmas]

The Board of Health said it expects to receive a few hundred more doses of Pfizer and Moderna on Friday and Monday. Monroe County Health Administrator Penny Caudill said the county is receiving more doses from the state than she anticipated, though Caudill’s expectations initially were low. 

Supply of the vaccines replenishes based on the rate Monroe County gives out the vaccine. The higher rate it distributes the vaccine it is given, the more it will get.

“They don’t know how much vaccine they are getting week to week,” Caudill said.

The supply is still not enough, Meek said, and is the biggest issue IU Health and Monroe County faces. The Board of Health also said the state is holding onto some doses for people to get their second dose because it does not want to run out without people being able to get both doses. 

Board member Mark Norrell asked the Meek and the Board members where the supply of doses is since the rollout has been slow, and was met by silence initially. The answer isn’t totally clear. Caudill said Indiana has gotten 300,000 total doses. It has given out 114,000 does and has 126,000 scheduled appointments. That total of scheduled appointments likely includes people getting a second dose.

“The intent is when we get it, we use it so we get more,” Caudill said.

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