The Indiana State Department of Health expanded eligibility of the COVID-19 vaccine for people 80 and older. Monroe County is planning to open a vaccine clinic at the Monroe Convention Center on Monday.
The Indiana State Department of Health instructed vaccine administrators to begin “Phase 1-B” of the vaccine rollout, which includes residents aged 80 and older, starting Wednesday. 21,000 people scheduled appointments in the first 90 minutes of registration, said Penny Caudill, department administrator of Monroe County Health.
“This is a population that is very excited and looking forward to getting vaccinated. We are excited about that,” Caudill said.
In their weekly COVID-19 press conference Friday, Monroe County health officials discussed the status and expansion of the ongoing vaccine distribution rollout.
More than 2,800 people have received the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine in Monroe County, according to the Indiana COVID-19 dashboard. The county has not yet reported to the state that anybody has completed their second dose, though most of the second doses will be administered starting next week, according to Brian Shockney, president of IU Health South Central region.
COVID-19 deaths have spiked across the country as the United States hits 4,000 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day. Monroe County’s seven-day positivity rate is just under 10%, according to Indiana’s dashboard.
“We have seen a small decrease in COVID-19 inpatients across the region,” Shockney said.
Some states have seen sporadic instances of patients not showing up for their vaccine appointments, worrying some that vaccine doses — which are still in shortage — could go unused because the vaccines do not have a long shelf life and can expire. Shockney said this wasn’t an issue at the beginning of the vaccination process.
“We do have a few people each day who do not show up for their time,” he said. “For the first couple weeks, we started walking it across the street and walking up and down the hallways of the hospital and giving the vaccine to our team members who are on the front lines.”
As more people become eligible for the vaccine, vaccine administrators from IU Health will use a call list to move people forward. Every vaccine will be used before it expires in order to ensure as many people get vaccinated as possible.
“What seems to be happening now is that we are getting a list of those healthcare workers we can call,” Shockney said. “If somebody misses an appointment, we can call a person on the list. If they are already scheduled, we can cancel their later appointment, and it opens one for somebody else. We’ll call people forward. We will do as Dr. Lindsey Weaver says at the Indiana State Department of Health, ‘Put shots in arms.’”