The long awaited COVID-19 vaccine has finally arrived in Indiana. As of March 2, more than 1,000,000 Hoosiers have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and nearly 570,000 of those individuals are fully vaccinated.
In December, the Indiana State Department of Health first opened eligibility to schedule a vaccination appointment to select licensed and unlicensed healthcare workers and first responders, as well as individuals who have exposure to COVID-19 infectious material, such as coroners and funeral directors. As of March 4, the vaccines have been made available to anyone age 50 and above.
All twelve of our SHO Hospitals are proud to be serving as vaccination sites to support the healthcare workers, first responders, and elderly in their communities. Some of the SHO Hospitals began administering vaccines as early as December 18. The response to open these COVID-19 vaccine clinics was rapid and could only be accomplished with dedicated teams at each of our hospitals. Due to the importance and high prioritization of the vaccine, many SHO Hospital employees have been pulled from their normal day-to-day operations to assist with the vaccine administration. SHO Hospitals have partnered with surrounding venues, such as fairgrounds, schools, and community centers, to provide greater access to the COVID-19 vaccine. Working with their local health departments to collaborate regionally has also allowed for the success of these vaccination clinics.
Currently, a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines is available in the United States; however, the Indiana State Department of Health has reported that supplies will increase in the weeks and months to come. “Once [the] vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors’ offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.” As the SHO Hospitals continue to serve their communities, this effort will see each organization delegating staff and resources to their vaccination clinics as well as offering support to their SHO partnered hospitals.
Throughout the pandemic the SHO Hospitals have worked in a coordinated fashion to ensure the safety and wellbeing of their associates, medical staff, patients, and community members. They have continued to unselfishly share supplies, equipment, PPE, and clinical best practices. We can now add pandemic vaccine distribution to the ever-growing list of ways that SHO Hospitals positively impact their communities every day across Indiana.