FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Huntington County Health Officer Dr. Matt Pflieger says he knows there’s a range of reasons why someone may choose not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
But he also knows just how much the vaccine can help.
"All of the people who are in the hospital are people who have been unvaccinated," Pflieger said. "So the vaccines have been working the way we’ve wanted them to work."
Roughly 50% of eligible Hoosiers are fully vaccinated, and Allen County has the highest rate in Northeast Indiana at roughly 49%.
Huntington County isn't far behind at 47%.
Noble, Jay and Adams counties are all between 34% and 37%.
Lagrange County is far behind, with over 75% of the population still at higher risk for COVID-19 and its variants (according to in.gov, July 19, 2021).
"As long as there are unvaccinated people who are willing to get vaccinated, then we’ll continue to try to make sure that those vaccines are available, and we’ll be giving them as soon as possible," said Noble County Health Officer Dr. Terry Gaff.
Gaff says he’s seeing cases rise in Noble County, and almost all of them are within the unvaccinated community.
He says the low demand for vaccines is even forcing him to waste some doses occasionally since each vial holds six at a time.
"We’d certainly like to give them to five other people, but getting that first person vaccinated is the most important priority at this point," Gaff said.
And Pflieger says every vaccinated Hoosier is another step towards keeping Indiana safer, especially once summer ends and people spend more time inside.
"As we get into September, October, November where we saw the really big spike last time, are we going to see that same spike again? And it goes to vaccination, which is the clear choice to getting rid of the virus," Pflieger said.
Pflieger also says regular testing will help limit outbreaks. So Huntington plans to continue its free sites through the winter.
Pflieger says he thinks there’s a large group of people who are open to getting the vaccine, though it’s not their top priority.
He expects people will be more likely to get it this fall when they visit doctors or pharmacies for flu shots.