Indiana health officials see a decrease in appointments made for the COVID-19 vaccine

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(WTWO/WAWV) — According to the C.D.C., at least half of the population in the United States has received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Nearly three weeks after Indiana extended it’s vaccine age eligibility to all Hoosiers aged 16 and older, Dr. Brian Dixon, Director of Public Health Informatics with Regenstrief Institute Inc. says 40% of the state has received at least one shot.

However, there has been a decrease in Hoosiers wanting to get vaccinated, especially among the younger population, Dixon claimed.

“That is a statewide trend and it’s trend nationally that younger populations have not been interested in getting the vaccine,” Dixon said.

According to Dr. Alan Stewart with the Knox County Health Department, that trend has impacted the area, even with nearly half of the population receiving at least one dose of the vaccination.

“I knew there would be a point where we would have plenty of vaccine and have to convince people to get it. It’s a matter of evolving our clinic, evolving our message, finding ways to get to the population to get people vaccinated to suppress the COVID virus,” Stewart said.

Among those ways to expand the clinic’s efforts, Stewart says the clinic has offered days for certain demographics and companies. The Knox County Health Department is looking to vaccine the homeless community also.

Meanwhile, Dixon also stated Indiana is starting to see an increase in a COVID-19 variant as often as one in every four new diagnosed COVID-19 cases.

“It’s concerning because the new strain spreads more rapidly or appears to spread more rapidly than the older, or if you will, the American version of COVID-19,” Dixon said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if that becomes the more dominant variant in the United States and in Indiana,”

Health officials in Indiana say they hope to vaccinate a large part of the population by this Summer.

“The state health department and the Governor would like to see two thirds of the population vaccinated kind of ahead of Memorial Day and they’d like to see us get to 80% by July 4. I think those are some short term goals,” Dixon said.

Dixon emphasized that around 80% is what the state would like to achieve to get herd immunity.

As a reminder, anyone who had an appointment at the Regional Pavilion in Vigo County, the Vigo County Health Department is relocating it’s clinic to the Vigo County Annex beginning April 21.

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