Indiana on expanded eligibility: 'This process will take time'

Posted at 8:16 PM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 20:27:24-04

HAMILTON COUNTY — Thousands of more Hoosiers will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine next week as sign-ups open for those ages 16 and older. But, officials warn that signing up does not mean getting vaccinated right away.

Christian Walker, who works as the emergency preparedness manager at the Hamilton County Health Department said although exciting, patience will be key.

“The tricky part for us is getting the folks in due to scheduling and the sheer volume of people we need to do,” Walker said.

He said the county is exploring extending hours, days and even opening another site on the county’s west side. Walker said right now, Hamilton County vaccine appointments are booked up through mid-April.

“Obviously we can’t add appointments until we add vaccine," Walker said. We have heard from Indiana department of health that within the next few weeks we can expect a significant increase in the number of vaccine."

At a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Dr. Kristina Box said the state health department will space out appointments at different sites across Indiana to prevent overbooking, as well as adding more appointments and sites as allocation allows.

“This process will take time. While we’re receiving 38,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson this week and have seen an overall increase in vaccines, many Hoosiers are still scheduling appointments several weeks out,” Box said.

In April, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will once again host a mass vaccination clinic, but this time for 16 days.

“We’re also working on plans to distribute vaccine directly to large business and industry partners,” Box said.

She said she is hopeful June will see all Hoosiers ages 16 and older who want to get the COVID-19 shot, fully vaccinated.

“I will say that there will be some hesitancy out there and there will be some access issues and we’ll be able to continue to solve those over the summer,” Box added.