Allocation of COVID-19 vaccines to IU Health bumped by nearly 30 percent

The local and regional pace of COVID-19 vaccination should be increasing, based on the additional 1,170 doses of Pfizer vaccine that Indiana’s department of health will be adding to the weekly shipment of 4,000 doses.

That was a highlight from remarks by Brian Shockney, president of IU Health’s south central region, speaking at Friday’s weekly press conference of local leaders.

Shockney said that IU Health’s Bloomington vaccine site has used 29,275 of the 31,825 doses it has received so far, which makes for a 92-percent rate. The additional 1,170 doses of vaccine will mean an extra 70 appointments per day, starting Monday, March 1.

About the state health department’s decision, Shockney said, “They’ve seen how quickly we’re able to put shots in arms.”

Indiana’s vaccine dashboard shows 11,676 people vaccinated In Monroe County so far. The 70 percent of the total population that has been used as the standard for herd immunity would work out to 103,902 of Monroe County’s 148,431 residents.

By that standard, Monroe County is about 11 percent of the way to herd immunity.

About the general trends in the right direction for infections and hospitalizations, Shockney said, “We need to continue to be very diligent.”

It was a common theme in remarks at the news conference—encouragement to remain diligent, even as infection numbers continue to trend in a good direction.

Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, reported one additional confirmed positive case for a city employee. That brings February’s total to four, compared to 13 for January and 22 for December.

Hamilton also reported that the city’s continued monitoring of residual COVID-19 in the city’s wastewater stream shows that virus residual levels are staying low.

Hamilton added, “The experts continue to urge caution. We have to stay the course. The variants are coming. It is not a time to relax. Hamilton urged people to continue to practice masking, distancing, and not sharing air with others.

Indiana university’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Kirk White, said on Friday that during the week of Feb. 14, the university was able to do mitigation 20,025 tests. The positivity rate for those tests was just 0.2 percent, White said.

White added, “We can’t settle down now. We’ve got to keep going full speed with the success and practices that have gotten us this far.”

The initial data on rates of vaccination for the Black population compared to their percentage of the county’s population show a disparity.

Monroe County health administrator Penny Caudill said on Friday that the county health department’s working group on outreach to underserved communities continues to meet.

“We are trying to make some connections in the community that will help us encourage people and have the right message to encourage people to be vaccinated, when they might be otherwise hesitant,” Caudill said.

On Friday, Caudill said she did not have a specific update, other than to say the working group continues to have conversations about trying to make some additional community connections.

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