INDIANAPOLIS (Network Indiana): About half of all Hoosiers are either vaccinated against COVID-19 or in the process of doing it. The state health department is trying to reach the other half.
State health commissioner Kristina Box says about 20% of Hoosiers don’t trust or don’t
want the vaccine. Another 20-or-30% have simply put it off, either because
side effects would have interfered with final exams or other commitments or because it wasn’t convenient.
That’s tricky because of the vaccine’s ultracold storage requirements and the desire to avoid wasting unused doses, but Weaver says the state hopes to make that happen by the end of May.
And Weaver says while the state has been promoting the vaccine since it became available to the oldest Hoosiers in January, some people don’t listen to the news or read social media. While some people complained about text alerts promoting mass vaccination clinics in Gary and at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Weaver says vaccinations doubled at both locations after the alerts went out — she says many people didn’t know they were happening until the alerts went out. She says the state may use that method again, but “sparingly.”
Box says vaccination rates are lowest in rural areas, many of which have few vaccination sites. She says she believes vaccine hesitancy is more of an issue there, but the health department is working to expand availability.
Box says many of the reasons people give for not wanting the vaccine are false; she says even those who have already had the virus can still be reinfected — while it’s not clear how long the vaccine’s protection lasts, it’s believed to be longer than that of the antibodies your body creates while you’re sick, and while people with underlying health conditions are most at risk of serious illness, Box notes the virus can still rock those who are otherwise healthy, or at least thought they were.
She also says studies are revealing longer-term ailments even among people who don’t require hospitalization during the initial infection.
Of those already eligible, one-third of Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated. Another 12% have gotten the first dose of a two-dose vaccine.
Weaver says about 140,000 people have made appointments for their first dose, and most clinics are now giving vaccines on a walk-in basis without requiring an appointment.