INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana hit a new all-time low for weekly first-time vaccine distribution this week, with the four-county area nearly hitting its own record low.
The state has seen an uptick in overall vaccine distribution, however, as Pfizer booster shots have started going out to high-risk Hoosiers and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just approved boosters for Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, too.
Statewide, 22,389 Hoosiers came in for their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, the lowest one-week total since public distribution started this year.
Locally, 306 residents in the four-county area received vaccines, which was the second-lowest one-week total all time. That being said, the only week lower was the week ended July 9, which would have included a shutdown of most vaccine sites for the Fourth of July holiday.
Steuben County led vaccine distribution this week with 124 residents getting vaccinated, followed by Noble County with 77, DeKalb County with 72 and LaGrange County with just 33.
About 58.4% of eligible Hoosiers age 12 and older are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with about 49.1% of the total population fully vaccinated.
Locally, vaccine rates lag far behind the state average. Steuben County sits at 47.9% of its eligible population vaccinated, followed by 44.4% in DeKalb County, 43.1% in Noble County and 26% in LaGrange County.
Indiana’s seen recent COVID-19 activity drop after hitting a mid-September peak of the surge driven by the delta-variant. Cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been in slow decline since.
Vaccine uptake never sharply rose during the two-and-a-half month surge in activity and now that numbers have fallen off, shot uptake has faded to record lows.
The state has distributed almost 10,000 booster shots so far to high-risk individuals.
Pfizer was the first to have boosters approved, recommended for people over 65 and people who are immuno-compromised or have other chronic conditions making them at high risk.
Just this week, booster shots were OK’d for people who received Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, with similar recommendations that boosters be taken primarily by people who are 65 and older or have other significant risk factors.
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.
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 more than 2,000 deaths being vaccinated people under age 65.
For comparison, 30% of the total deaths were unvaccinated people under 65 years of age.