Learning more about who’s next for vaccine eligibility

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INDIANAPOLIS — We are working to learn exactly when Hoosiers with medical conditions will be eligible for vaccinations and what will be required of them when the time comes.

Hoosiers ages 60 and older will be next, once the state department of health expands its covid-19 vaccine eligibility. That group will be followed by those who are 50 and older and those with co-morbidities.

“The thought process behind that is those who are 50-year-old and older are also those who have the highest chance of having comorbidities that are associated with bad outcomes of COVID,” said Indiana University Hospital, Medical Director of Infection Prevention, Dr. Cole Beeler, MD.

Dr. Beeler says the state is continuing to follow the age-based priority group while also focusing on those who are at a higher risk for complications.  

“Those would include things like cancer, and heart disease, diabetes, among other diseases, and so the state is looking at that data,” said Regenstrief Institute, Director of Public Health informatics, Dr. Brian Dixon.

What’s still unclear is exactly how the state will verify the conditions of patients. Dr. Dixon says there are three potential ways. One, having healthcare providers give eligible patients a card to show when they go to their appointment. Two, providing a doctor’s note at your appointment. Or three, using the honor system and trusting the patient.

“I think asking people to bring a lot of documentation with them in order to get the vaccine will add some undue sort of complexity,” said Dr. Dixon.

In addition to the unknown, there’s still a question of how soon.

“It’s going to be based on rate of utilization across the united states since we’re all pulling from the same supply. A lot of that is not able to gage and the decision has to be made on a week-by-week basis,” said Dr. Beeler.

Beeler says the only way that process can be expediated is by adding new vaccines to the mix since the current supply remains low.

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