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Indiana opens COVID-19 vaccine to additional high-risk individuals

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Posted at 4:59 PM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 18:13:43-05

INDIANAPOLIS — People who have chronic conditions and intellectual and developmental disabilities are now eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine, Indiana announced Tuesday.

The list includes people with conditions like cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, severe heart defects, epilepsy and cerebral palsy, to name a few.

“You know the life expectancy is shortened,” said Mindy Cameron, whose son has Duchenne muscular dystrophy. “So a year in proportion to what other people have is a long time. So yeah I was very very happy to see that the eligibility was opened up yesterday. But I think it was a little bit late.”

Cameron’s 19-year-old son Christopher is a freshman at Ball State University.

“He has been pretty much isolated for about 13 months,” she said. “We took him out of the senior year of high school about February.”

While glad her son finally has a chance to get vaccinated, she feels patients with serious respiratory and cardiac health conditions should have been vaccinated before healthy people 50 and older.

“They take their health very seriously,” Cameron said. “There’s no one that relishes the years they have like these patients and just because we were hidden away during the pandemic, doesn’t mean that we don’t want to get out there. One of my son's favorite activities is dining in restaurants and we’ve not been able to do that in over a year.”

Now that they are eligible, the process to register is extensive, she says. Health providers have to share their patient’s contact information with the state health department to verify they have the diagnosis. Then, they wait for the state to notify them they can register and will be sent a link to do so.

“The other issue is that because it was open to 50 and older, there’s hundreds of thousands of people now in line before patients with neuromuscular disease,” Cameron said. “So we’re looking at mid-April.”

As they await their link to register from the state, she says, “I just wish that more consideration was given to this population. I feel like they’re marginalized a lot of the time.”

People with severe asthma or who require supplemental oxygen are also eligible. Patients with severe Type 1 diabetes who have been hospitalized in the past year can also receive the vaccine, as well as those who have a weakened immune system from a blood or bone marrow transplant, HIV, or other medicines or conditions that involve the immune system.