INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s vaccine uptake continues to dwindle, setting a new all-time low again this past week as all four counties in the northeast corner saw fewer than 100 new people come in for shots.
More than half of residents in the four-county area are still not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and, at the current pace, won’t come close any time soon.
Locally, just 290 first-timers came in for a vaccine in the past week, a significant drop from the previous week’s 466, which itself was the second-lowest weekly total so far this year.
The new low comes as all four counties dropped under 100 new vaccinations — Noble County had 93, DeKalb County had 92, Steuben County fell to 67 and LaGrange County vaccinated just 38 new people, less than six per day.
The local drops came amid another large dropoff in demand statewide, as Indiana had just 23,677 total Hoosiers come in for their first shots this week. That’s down from 35,082 a week ago.
As such, Indiana continues crawling toward a 50% vaccination rate, with about 2.86 million Hoosiers vaccinated, representing 49.1% of the eligible population age 12 and older.
Indiana whifffed widely on the federal goal of getting states to 70% vaccination rate among adults by July 4. At the current pace, Indiana won’t be likely to crack 70% vaccination rate — a level identified primarily because it would represent the start of more substantial, wider communal herd immunity from the virus — by even the end of this year.
On Friday, state health officials including Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box and Indiana State Department of Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Linsday weaver acknowledged Indiana’s lagging vaccine rate as compared to other states and specifically highlighted ongoing efforts to try to boost protection in rural communities, most of which are trailing the statewide vaccine average.
Weaver noted specifically that vaccines are being brought to large community events where people will be, including county fairs. Shots will be available at the Noble County Community Fair this coming week, in case anyone wants to get a vaccine to pair with their corn dog and elephant ear.
Steuben County is also having vaccines available on site at this weekend’s Balloons Aloft festival, should anyone want to get immunized while there.
Local counties continue to lag the state average, with Steuben County the closest at 44% vaccination rate. DeKalb County is further back at 40.3%, Noble County is more than 10 percentage points behind the state average at about 36% and LaGrange County remains the least-vaccinated in the state at a low 23%.