INDIANAPOLIS — The first doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered to frontline healthcare workers in Indiana after the first allotment arrived Monday morning, according to the state health department.
The Indiana Department of Health (ISDH) said The first doses were administered to a physician, nurse, respiratory therapist, pharmacist, patient care tech and environmental services tech at Parkview Health in Fort Wayne shortly after noon today.
“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.”
According to ISDH, Parkview and Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville both received initial doses of vaccine Monday morning. These two facilities are among the five pilot hospitals slated to receive vaccine first.
More allotments are expected to arrive at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, IU Methodist in Indianapolis and Community Hospital in Munster within the next few days, said the health department.
ISDH said more than 20,000 Indiana healthcare workers statewide have already registered to get their first dose, and more than 50 hospitals and clinics are expected to receive a total of 55,575 doses of vaccine by the end of the week with additional shipments expected weekly.
Because of their higher risk of exposure and because the vaccine will be shipped to states in phases, the first doses will be provided for the state’s frontline healthcare workers and long-term care facility residents and staff.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said, “Our frontline healthcare workers have taken care of Hoosiers for months. 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.”
ISDH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver said half of Indiana’s COVID-related deaths are residents of long-term care facilities. Weaver is in charge of the state’s vaccine planning and distribution effort.
Weaver said Indiana will open the vaccine to additional groups as more shipments are received. She encouraged everyone to begin preparing for when vaccine is widely available, and reminded Hoosiers that the vaccine requires two doses administered a minimum of 21 to 28 days apart.
“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 Coronavirus.In.Gov/vaccine.