Indiana’s frontline healthcare workers begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine


INDIANAPOLIS — A small group of Hoosier healthcare workers received the COVID-19 vaccine Monday in Fort Wayne.

Fort Wayne’s Parkview Health and Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville received the first doses of the vaccine Monday morning.

Dr. Mary Elise Hodson, a pediatrician with Franciscan Health, is getting her vaccine in days.

“I’m really excited,” Hodson said. “When I found out this was being shipped and approved and available, I was ready to sign up!”

As a physician, Dr. Hodson is happy her experience will help her patients and their families make decisions on the vaccine.

“It’s not infrequent that I’ll have a parent say, ‘Would you give this vaccine to your child? Would you get this vaccine if it was appropriate for you to get it?'” Hodson said. “It’s great that I’m going to to be able to say that to people and say, ‘Yes! I did get this vaccine, and I am recommending it to my adult children, and I’m excited to get this vaccine.’

“And when the time comes that the general public can get it, I’m glad I’m going to be able to say that.”

Franciscan Health expects to receive up to 12,000 doses of the vaccine by Friday morning. This will cover frontline healthcare workers, along with staff and residents of longterm care facilities, on the south side of Indy.

Dr. Lindsay Weaver, Indiana’s chief medical officer, said they are prioritizing longterm care residents because they are a vulnerable population. Half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths occurred in patients within these facilities.

“It’s easy to identify the healthcare worker, the individuals who are living in nursing facilities,” said Dr. Angela Carbone, medical director of the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana. “Those are easy to identify. Then where do you go?”

Dr. Carbone acknowledged experts have much on their plates when considering the order of when groups of people are offered the vaccine.

“How do we allocate?” Carbone asked. “I think vulnerable populations need to be very well defined. I would leave that to the experts.”

Doctors add it will be months before the general population will be offered to take a COVID-19 vaccine.

“I think it’s right to say by June or July, ” Carbone said. “Most people, if they choose, this is not mandatory, if they choose to do it and we get enough percentage of the population to do it, then we will see some true protection.”

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