Vaccination rate in Monroe County trending up, pop-up clinics set for next week

The 14-day rolling average of final doses administered per day in Monroe County through April 29, 2021 stands at 902 (dark green line).

The number of final-dose vaccinations administered in Monroe County has seen a significant upward trend over the past four days.

That’s the impact of second shots of Pfizer vaccine now getting delivered at Indiana University’s Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall clinic site, after its launch at the end of March.

The 14-day rolling average of final doses administered per day in Monroe County through April 29 stands at 902.

At that rate, based on the total of 44,920 people who have been fully vaccinated so far, and a Monroe County population of 148,431, it would take about 65 days to achieve a 70-percent vaccination rate.

That would mean the 70-percent threshold—which is sometimes cited as a minimum for herd immunity—would be achieved in Monroe County on July 4.

Additional one-time local clinics are hoped to keep the momentum for vaccination going.

At Friday’s regular press conference of local leaders on COVID-19 response, county health administrator Penny Caudill announced that two pop-up clinics would be held in the coming two weeks.

On May 6 from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., a pop-up clinic will be held at the Boys and Girls Club.

On May 10, a pop-up clinic will be held at the Monroe County convention center, starting at noon. That clinic, which will target local Hispanic residents, will use the Moderna vaccine, and the follow-up second shot will be set for June 7, Caudill said.

Indiana University vice president for strategic partnerships Kirk White said on Friday that the university’s Assembly Hall site has 3,100 openings for appointments next week.

White and Brian Shockney, president of IU Health’s south central region, confirmed that their clinics are now taking walk-in vaccinations. To do that, Shockney said, “We did quickly pivot on our process by which we can get the vaccine thawed and ready for our team.”

The clinics are cutting off walk-in availability two hours before the end of the clinic day, to avoid wasting vaccine.

While walk-in availability and pop-up clinics are a part of the local strategy to get more shots in arms, paying members of the general public cash to get vaccinated, using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, will likely not be a part of Bloomington or Monroe County’s plan.

Responding to a question about that possibility, county commissioner Lee Jones said, “We haven’t actually been looking at that in the county at all. We have decided pretty much against incentives.”

Bloomington’s mayor John Hamilton said he was not sure that ARPA money could be used in that way.

Hamilton pointed to the city’s $100 incentive for its employees, that he said might be enhanced in some way. Hamilton encouraged other employers to incentive their workers: “I would strongly encourage employers or other institutions that have large numbers of people affiliated with you to really consider, how do you incentivize folks to get vaccinations?”

Hamilton added, “I know these are tricky, but it’s absolutely essential that we keep those numbers going up.”

White stressed that there’s no cost to getting vaccinated: “If you don’t have insurance, the government picks it up. So nobody gets charged for coming.” White added, “Come on over and enjoy the feeling of freedom. For free!”

Prisoners at Monroe County’s jail are getting $15 paid into their commissary accounts, if they get vaccinated, according to a press release issued on Friday by county sheriff Brad Swain.

On the first day of the program, on Thursday (April 29), 54 inmates requested and received the Johnson & Johnson vaccination, according to the press release.

The start date of April 29 for the jail’s vaccination program had been set several weeks ago, according to the press release. The jail’s program will use the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

According to the sheriff’s news release, the goal is to have at least half the jail population vaccinated. That would work out to around 120 inmates.