INDIANAPOLIS — Local vaccine numbers dropped slightly this week, but statewide totals bumped up a bit compared to the week before.

Still, new vaccine uptake remains near all-time lows, even though more than 40% of Hoosiers 12 and older have not been vaccinated and rates remain far lower in the local area.

Statewide, 25,888 Hoosiers came in for their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, a slight increase from 22,725 last week. That’s up week-to-week, but vaccine this past week’s total was still the third-lowest weekly total since vaccine distribution started in January.

Locally, shot uptake fell compared to a week ago, with 349 first-time coming in compared to 361 the week prior. That total also remains near all-time lows.

Noble County was the only county with more than 100 new takes at 129, followed by DeKalb County with 99, Steuben County at 64 and LaGrange County with 57.

Local health officials are continuing to offer COVID-19 shots, including at some upcoming shot clinics being hosted aimed at giving out free flu shots, so time will tell whether those shot clinics help boost numbers.

Statewide, Indiana is approaching 58% full vaccination rate for its eligible population 12 and older, with about 49% of all Hoosiers fully vaccinated. Children under age 12 aren’t eligible for vaccines yet, although Pfizer is continuing to purse approval for shot distribution to people age 5-11.

Locally, vaccine rates lag by more than 10 percentage points or more compared to the rest of the state.

Steuben County sits at 47.6% vaccinated rate as the best in the area, followed by DeKalb County at 44%, Noble County at 42.7% and LaGrange County far, far behind at 25.9%.

Indiana’s been coming off the surge brought on this summer by the highly infectious delta variant of COVID-19. Activity from the variant peaked about mid-September and has been in decline since.

Although COVID-19 activity hit its second-highest point, exceeded only by the all-time peak hit between November 2020 and January 2021, vaccine numbers never rose appreciably in tandem with rising cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Now that activity has started to fade, vaccine uptake has started to fade too, despite never spiking during the delta-driven surge.

The majority of people who suffered COVID-19 cases, and especially serious cases of the virus, have been those who chose not to get vaccinated.

Recently, Sen. Dennis Kruse, R-Auburn, was released from the hospital after spending 10 days in the intensive care unit for COVID-19. Kruse, 75, had not been vaccinated.

Since mid-June about 80% of total deaths from COVID-19 have been among those who are not vaccinated.

While about 20% of deaths have been among people experiencing a breakthrough case, most of those were people age 65% and older, with only 2% of the nearly 2,000 deaths being vaccinated people under age 65.

For comparison, 30% of the total deaths were unvaccinated people under 65 years of age.

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