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Vaccine Rollout Slows In Indiana After Trump Administration National Stockpile Failure

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PHOTO COURTESY OF INDIANA UNIVERSITY
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The Trump administration’s failure to produce a national stockpile of the COVID-19 vaccine is preventing Indiana from moving its vaccine distribution plan further forward.

After first prioritizing health care workers, Indiana’s vaccine plan is age-based. Hoosiers 80 and older started scheduling appointments earlier this month. Within days, it moved down a tier, to those 70 and older.

But the next tier was supposed to be 60 and older. Now, it will be Hoosiers at least age 65, said Indiana Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Lindsay Weaver.

“Despite being told that additional vaccine would be coming to states, we’ve since learned that there is no national stockpile," Weaver said. "Our vaccine allocations have not increased beyond the roughly 78,000 to 80,000 doses we were already expecting each week.”

READ MORE: How Will Indiana Distribute COVID-19 Vaccines? Here's What You Need To Know

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Weaver said the state is also not changing course from its age-based distribution plan in favor of one that prioritizes frontline workers, such as teachers or grocery store clerks.

“At this time, we must continue to concentrate on vaccinating those people who are at the highest risk of hospitalizations and death," Weaver said. "Even people with very minimal risk of exposure still have a much higher risk of hospitalization and death, compared to younger people who have a very high risk of exposure.”

Weaver emphasized the state's system is set up so that no one's appointment has to be canceled because of a lack of vaccine doses.

There’s no timeline for when more Hoosiers, beyond those 70 and older, will be able to schedule vaccination appointments.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.