Indiana expanding COVID-19 vaccinations to teachers, school employees

State health officials said Wednesday that the eligibility expansion comes at the direction of the Biden administration, which earlier allowed teachers to be vaccinated at pharmacies taking part in a federal program.

Posted: Mar 10, 2021 4:30 PM
Updated: Mar 11, 2021 9:30 AM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Teachers and other school employees will be able to get COVID-19 vaccinations through Indiana’s shot clinics across the state starting next week.

State health officials said Wednesday that the eligibility expansion comes at the direction of the Biden administration, which earlier allowed teachers to be vaccinated at pharmacies taking part in a federal program.

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Indiana currently is allowing anyone ages 50 and older and those with at-risk health conditions to make vaccine appointments. The expansion for teachers starts Monday and includes other school workers such as classroom aides, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and substitute teachers.

Gov. Eric Holcomb and top state health officials had repeatedly said they believed that targeting vaccinations to older age groups and health care workers, rather than school employees, was more effective at preventing serious illnesses and deaths.

“We had a plan. We were executing that plan very methodically. We were using data to drive all of our decisions about who was most at-risk,” Holcomb said Wednesday. “Our federal partners have said you need to add (teachers) in to any site, and so we will do that.”

The Republican governor said he also plans to give a statewide address within the next two weeks to discuss how the state responded to COVID-19 over the last year, and to look ahead at “policies and guidance” that could be forthcoming.

After vaccines are rolled out to teachers, Indiana’s chief medical officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said Indiana received its 2 millionth COVID-19 dose this week. said state health officials plan to next open eligibility incrementally to those aged 40 to 49.

Indiana should soon receive an additional 16,000 doses of vaccine in its weekly allocations, Weaver said, though it’s still unclear when the state can expect additional shipments of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

State officials are “being very careful” assigning how to use the state’s initial 54,000 doses of the latest vaccine to be cleared by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Weaver continued.

Some Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been allocated to hospitals and local health departments, she said, but most are being used to supply to a series of mass vaccination clinics around Indiana.

During its first mass clinic last week, the state Health Department inoculated more than 16,500 Hoosiers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said Dr. Kristina Box, the state health commissioner.

Additional large-scale clinics to be held at Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg the University of Notre Dame are already fully booked, but appointment slots are still available for a fourth mass vaccination site at Calumet New Tech High School in Gary, scheduled for later this month.

The vaccinations come as Indiana has seen COVID-19 death and hospitalization rates fall more than 80% since their December peaks.

Indiana’s current average of about 10 COVID-19 deaths a day is down from the peak of 103 a day in December.

Despite that improvement, the state is recording as many coronavirus deaths in less than two weeks than the 119 flu deaths reported over 32 weeks during the 2018-19 influenza season.

Indiana has recorded almost 12,800 confirmed or presumed coronavirus-related deaths over the past year.

Nearly 1.2 million Hoosiers have received their first dose of vaccine, an increase of nearly 147,000 from last week, Box said. Around 745,000 people across Indiana are now fully vaccinated.

So far, 72% of Hoosiers aged 80 and older, and 73% of those aged 70 to 79, have scheduled or received a vaccine, Box said.

Those vaccination rates drop to 60% for those aged 60 to 69, and 37% for Hoosiers between the ages of 50 and 59.

More than 138,000 first and second doses have also been administered to residents and staff in long term care facilities, Box said.

The state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 863 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of Hoosiers known to have the virus up to 669,164.

RELATED: ISDH: 5 Northeast Indiana counties in yellow level, 8 in blue, including Allen County

The state Department of Health’s weekly tracking map updated Wednesday labels no counties in the highest-risk red category for the fourth week in a row.

This week’s map lists only central Indiana’s Tipton County in the next-riskiest orange category. Thirty other counties remain in the moderate-risk yellow rating, and 61 counties are labeled in the lowest-risk blue category.

Holcomb did not announce any immediate changes Wednesday to what few COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, including the statewide mask mandate.

“We’ll get there... I’m very optimistic,” Holcomb said, referring to Indiana’s reopening plans. “But I’m laser-focused on Indiana, and I want to make sure we continue to do the things that are responsible in terms of the effects it has on our public health at large.”

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 751242

Reported Deaths: 13795
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1032931788
Lake556911009
Allen41692692
St. Joseph36990565
Hamilton36588417
Elkhart29398461
Tippecanoe22901226
Vanderburgh22556400
Porter19356325
Johnson18471389
Hendricks17682317
Clark13226195
Madison13149344
Vigo12614253
LaPorte12419221
Monroe12207176
Delaware10966198
Howard10321225
Kosciusko9630121
Hancock8576146
Bartholomew8169157
Warrick7860156
Floyd7811180
Grant7242179
Wayne7162201
Boone6966103
Morgan6761141
Dubois6218118
Marshall6209116
Cass6016110
Henry5900110
Dearborn589878
Noble581488
Jackson509076
Shelby501496
Lawrence4742122
Gibson444894
Clinton442355
Harrison441875
DeKalb439885
Montgomery438090
Whitley406543
Huntington402681
Steuben400159
Miami395269
Jasper388054
Knox375991
Putnam372960
Wabash361983
Ripley347170
Adams345555
Jefferson335886
White331953
Daviess3033100
Wells295281
Decatur289992
Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey273835
LaGrange273072
Scott270156
Clay267148
Washington246036
Randolph244783
Jennings235349
Spencer234531
Starke228058
Fountain220948
Sullivan214643
Owen211858
Fulton202942
Jay200932
Carroll193620
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion174844
Franklin170335
Tipton166246
Parke149416
Pike138234
Blackford136232
Pulaski120647
Newton113936
Brown104243
Crawford102516
Benton101714
Martin91715
Warren84015
Switzerland8148
Union72810
Ohio57911
Unassigned0420

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1108902

Reported Deaths: 20166
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1287491467
Cuyahoga1158082211
Hamilton814091250
Montgomery525571043
Summit484351001
Lucas43359820
Butler39018606
Stark33338929
Lorain25675505
Warren24595303
Mahoning22376603
Lake21211388
Clermont20124253
Delaware18856136
Licking16663222
Fairfield16576204
Trumbull16551482
Medina15612271
Greene15284248
Clark14237306
Wood13292200
Portage13251215
Allen11914239
Richland11607211
Miami10849225
Wayne9146223
Columbiana9034230
Muskingum8906135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8650250
Marion8642138
Erie8056165
Ashtabula7161179
Hancock6999132
Ross6945161
Geauga6838151
Scioto6534106
Belmont6157174
Union584649
Lawrence5732102
Jefferson5679158
Huron5546122
Sandusky5442126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5320109
Athens523960
Auglaize502187
Mercer487385
Shelby476895
Knox4572112
Madison444366
Ashland435797
Putnam4336103
Defiance432399
Fulton432174
Crawford4040110
Brown402461
Logan387677
Preble3856105
Clinton379166
Ottawa373681
Highland359865
Williams348278
Champaign344859
Guernsey324953
Jackson318254
Perry297350
Morrow291840
Fayette285450
Hardin275365
Henry273467
Holmes2702101
Coshocton269060
Van Wert247264
Adams243256
Pike242835
Gallia240750
Wyandot234556
Hocking220563
Carroll197348
Paulding176542
Meigs148440
Monroe136344
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan109624
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
Fort Wayne
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Calm and cool conditions are expected across the Midwest through the middle of the work week.
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