Out-of-state students, faculty and staff will not be able to get the second dose of their COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana if they received their first dose outside of the state, said Kirk White, IU-Bloomington COVID Response Unit lead. There is currently no guidance from the Indiana State Department of Health on administering vaccines for those individuals.
In a COVID-19 press conference hosted by the City of Bloomington on Friday, White said there is no process for individuals coming to Indiana from other states to receive their second dose in Indiana.
“If they have received a vaccine in another state, the question is could they get their second here in Indiana?” he said. “The answer is right now no. We really don't have any guidance from the state. There’s not a procedure in place for them.”
The lack of guidance from the state could leave some IU students returning to campus from other states without the ability to receive their second dose. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines being distributed in the U.S. require two doses. The Pfizer vaccine doses are separated by 21 days, while the Moderna doses are separated by 28 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This announcement comes just weeks before many IU students will return to campus. On-campus instruction can begin Feb. 8.
“We’ve got an influx of students, faculty, and staff coming back from other states,” White said. “We’re encouraging those students, faculty and staff that have done that to either stay in that state to get their second dose or to make plans to go back.”
IU Health is seeing a decrease in hospitalizations, according to Brian Shockney, IU Health president for the south central region. The IU Health statewide ICU occupation rate is 74%. In the south central region, in which Bloomington is included, it’s 50%.
“We are cautiously optimistic of this decrease and hope the vaccine rates continue to increase so our hospitalizations and COVID numbers decrease,” Shockney said.
The health officials on the call said despite some promising numbers in Monroe County, precautionary measures such as social distancing and masking are still vital to preventing the spread of COVID-19, even as vaccinations continue.
“One milestone we hit sometime last night was the 407,000th death in our country of COVID, which means that last night, we just passed the total number of service members killed in World War II over four years,” White said. “That shows the breadth and depth of this emergency.”