TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Officials say initial doses of a COVID-19 vaccine could be in Vigo County, as early as next week. The county health department says the first round will be prioritized for local health care workers.
In recent weeks, both companies Pfizer and Moderna say their development of a vaccine has shown positive results in terms of effectiveness.
During a recent meeting of the Vigo County Board of Health, officials announced that the county could receive a shipment of a COVID-19 vaccine in the very near future.
“What we’ve heard from the state is that the week after Thanksgiving we could potentially start getting vaccines,” said Roni Elder, Vigo County health educator.
In line with the State of Indiana’s plan, Elder says the vaccine will first be made available to Vigo County health care workers. This includes staff at Union and Regional hospitals, employees at long-term care facilities and other front line workers.
“They’re risking everyday the chance of getting COVID-19, they’re exposing themselves if they’re not in proper PPE so really they’re a population that needs to be treated and they also need to be treated in the aspect that they don’t bring it back to patients,” Elder said.
According to Elder, throughout different phases the vaccine will then go to those who need it the most such as vulnerable populations with the hopes that a vaccine would eventually become widely-available to the public in the future.
In the meantime, Elder says while vaccines do offer a positive outlook that it’s not time for the community to let down their guards.
“We are hopeful that this will be what pulls us out of this pandemic but we also have to be cautious and continue to do the things that we’ve talked about because not everybody will have the vaccine, not everybody will want to take it,” Elder said.
During the county board of health meeting, some board members say it will takes lots of effort to perform a mass vaccination plan, once available.
“It’s going to take a huge public relations campaign because people do a terrible job with the influenza vaccine. 50-60 percent of people get an influenza vaccination and now we’re going to give them a whole new vaccine,” said Dr. James Turner, Vigo County board of health member.
Elder says the vaccine will not be mandatory for health care workers, once the county receives it’s first shipment.