Local COVID-19 Vaccinations Surge as Eligibility Expands

With more and more Hoosiers becoming eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, local health officials are working hard to handle the increased demand.

Posted: Mar 9, 2021 4:37 PM
Updated: Mar 9, 2021 5:13 PM

As of Wednesday, state health officials in Indiana expanded eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine, making the vaccine available to all Hoosiers age 50-years-old and above.

That expansion of eligibility made the vaccine available to an additional 412,000 Hoosiers, and now, local clinics are doing everything they can to handle the increased load.

In Vanderburgh County, 24% of the population has currently received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 16% are now fully vaccinated - and as eligibility continues to expand, health leaders say they expect those numbers to keep climbing.

On Tuesday, 59-year-old Mark Hill received his first "shot of hope" at Deaconess Clinic Downtown. Hill says that as a school custodian, he couldn't be more thrilled to have received the vaccine.

"It makes me feel a lot more comfortable too, just knowing that I have been vaccinated," Hill said.

Over at the Old National Events Plaza, the Vanderburgh County Health Department is distributing the Moderna vaccine by the dozens.

"We're doing 400 on Wednesday and 200 on Saturday," said Joe Gries with the Vanderburgh County Health Department, who says the clinic has been booked solid. "We don't have a whole lot of appointments over the next couple weeks, but if you go out three or four weeks, we do have some appointments available." 

With the growing pool of qualifying Hoosiers, the health department is always looking for more volunteers to help staff the clinics.

"We want to make sure we do have adequate resources to continue this for the next several months," Gries continued.

As for Hill, he hopes more people sign up as they're able to.

"The more people vaccinated the better to get back to some kind of normal life," said Hill.

The Vanderburgh County Health Department is set to receive shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine this spring with plans to administer it at churches and community centers in hopes of making the vaccine more available to minority groups who haven't had the same access to the vaccine as others.

Since the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Indiana in mid-December, over 1 million individuals have received their first dose of the vaccine in the state - with over 700,000 now fully vaccinated.

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It was another chilly start across the Tri-State; while we only dipped as low as 43° in Evansville, many others across the Tri-State fell into the upper 30s earlier this morning. The cool air didn't linger long however, temperatures quickly reached back into the mid 70s across the region this afternoon - higher pressure camped out over the southeastern quarter of the country will continue to keep the skies above the Tri-State clear while gradually driving temperatures higher over the next few days. Despite our anticipated southerly winds this evening, you may still want to grab a jacket before your head out to dinner; after seeing a temperature near 64° around dinnertime, we'll fall off toward the mid to upper 50s by 10 o'clock. Overnight lows will again dwindle into the mid to low 40s for the majority of the Ohio Valley early Tuesday morning.
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