(INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health announced today that the first doses of COVID-19 vaccine has been administered to frontline healthcare workers in Indiana, after the state’s first allotment of vaccine arrived Monday morning.
The first doses were administered to a physician, nurse, respiratory therapist, pharmacist, patient care tech, and an environmental services tech at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne shortly after noon today. Parkview and Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville both received initial doses of vaccine Monday morning. The two are among the five pilot hospitals slated to receive the vaccine first.
The additional vaccine is expected to arrive at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IU Methodist in Indianapolis, and Community Hospital in Munster in the next few days.
“The arrival of vaccine is an incredible milestone in our efforts to end this pandemic,” Gov. Eric J. Holcomb said. “The combination of a vaccine and simple mitigation measures like wearing a mask and keeping your distance will get us through to the other side.”
More than 20,000 Indiana healthcare workers statewide have already registered to get their first dose.
More than 50 Indiana hospitals and clinics are expected to receive a total of 55,575 doses of vaccine by the end of the week, and additional shipments are expected weekly. The vaccine requires two doses administered a minimum of 21 to 28 days apart.
Because the vaccine will be shipped to states in phases, Indiana has prioritized the first doses for frontline healthcare workers who provide direct patient care and therefore are at high risk of exposure to COVID-19, as well as long-term care residents and staff who have been significantly impacted by the pandemic.
“Our frontline healthcare workers have taken care of Hoosiers for months,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “By opening vaccine to them first, we are able to protect our healthcare workforce and help ensure that Hoosiers retain access to the care they need, whether it’s due to COVID or another medical matter.”
Dr. Lindsay Weaver, chief medical officer for the Indiana Department of Health, said long-term care staff and residents are also being prioritized for the vaccine because of the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on these vulnerable Hoosiers. Half of the state’s COVID-related deaths have occurred among residents of long-term care facilities.
Weaver, who is leading the state’s vaccine planning and distribution effort, said Indiana will open the vaccine to additional groups as more shipments are received. She encouraged Hoosiers to begin preparing for when vaccine is widely available.
“Science has proven that vaccines are safe and effective at preventing disease, and I encourage Hoosiers to begin learning about the COVID-19 vaccine now so they are ready to protect themselves, their families, and their communities as soon as the vaccine is available to them,” Weaver said.
For more information about the COVID-19 vaccine, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine.