INDIANAPOLIS — The first vaccinations are underway in the country and in the state. Fort Wayne’s Parkview Regional Hospital and Clark Memorial in Jeffersonville were the first to receive and administer the vaccinations.
IU Health’s Methodist Hospital will be the first hospital in Indianapolis to receive the vaccine with its first shipment expected by Wednesday. Their package includes 1,950 doses of the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.
“I think what we will see is over the next four to six weeks, the roll out in the state will be focused on frontline health care workers, those who are working in public health to vaccinate other people,” said Regenstrief Institute Director of Public Health Informatics Dr. Brian Dixon.
The primary goal is to focus on healthcare workers and then those most vulnerable at longterm care facilities. From there, Dr. Dixon says more than half of the state will need to get the vaccine before COVID is no longer seen in headlines.
“To achieve that, given our population is right under 7 million people, it means about 4.7 million or just under 5 million people would really need to be vaccinated before we as a state could achieve herd immunity,” explained Dr. Dixon.
That may not happen until the summer or fall of 2021. IU Health says they need to achieve that same percentage when it comes to healthcare workers, not just everyday Hoosiers.
“If we can get 60 to 70% of our team members vaccinated, on top of the probably 5 to 10% of those who have already had COVID, we should be at a pretty good shape just at a staffing perspective,” said IU Health Interim Chief Medical Executive Dr. Paul Calkins.
As for those with lingering concerns, Dr. Calkins says researchers have been working on the vaccine technology over the last 20 years during the outbreaks of Ebola, SARS and Zika. He makes it clear that the vaccine is far from rushed.
“All of this technology has been getting worked on the entire time, so it just so happens that the technology was mature when we needed it,” said Dr. Calkins.
Knowing the research and knowing how deadly this virus is has caused Dr. Calkins to decide to be vaccinated himself to help save those who may be vulnerable. That is why he has no problem telling people they need to get it.
“I would say it’s probably less painful than being in the intensive care unit or having your mother in the intensive care unit, that’s the way I look at it,” said Dr. Calkins.
By the end of the week, 50 Phase 1-A sites in the state will have their first shipment of vaccinations. Each site is expecting between 1,000 and 2,000 doses, and several sites are located in Indianapolis.