Hoosiers 50 and older can now register for appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Wednesday's announcement from the Indiana Department of Health is the second expansion this week.
The addition of the new Johnson & Johnson vaccine helped Indiana lower eligibility twice within two days. Dr. Lindsay Weaver, IDOH chief medical officer, said the J&J vaccine also enabled the state to create three mass vaccination sites in the coming days.
“What’s most important to understand is that all three vaccines are highly effective and successful at preventing hospitalizations and deaths – and those are the results we want to see with any vaccine,” Weaver said.
State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said she’s cautiously optimistic the state will be able to continue quickly expanding eligibility.
“I would really be thinking that by mid to late March, we’re to [age] 40 and above,” Box said.
Box said the state will also be adding more comorbidities to the eligibility guidelines, but that list isn’t yet available.
Health officials said on social media that Hoosiers with specific comorbidities should reach out to their primary care providers – after that, they'll be provided a separate registration link.
Those comorbidities are active dialysis patients, Hoosiers with Down syndrome, post-solid organ transplant recipients, sickle cell disease patients, and people in treatment for cancers now or in the last three months, or with active primary lung cancer or active hematologic cancers, like lymphoma, leukemia or multiple myeloma.
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If you or a loved one falls into that age group, you can register at OurShot.in.gov or by calling 211. Nearly 70 public libraries, AARP and Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging may also be able to help with registration.
For those registering online, at the top of the page, there is a muted red banner that reads “Click here to find a vaccination site and register.”
That will redirect you to a map, which lists vaccination sites by county. Select the one closest to you (or your loved one). And then select “Click here to register.” Select what group best describes you, and then register for your vaccine.
Appointments for the second dose will be made at the clinic when the first dose is administered. The state health department encouraged Hoosiers who may struggle finding an appointment to look at sites in other counties.
Some pharmacies through Walmart, Kroger and Meijer also have COVID-19 vaccines available. Walmart pharmacies are using the state's registration at OurShot.in.gov. However, Kroger and Meijer have their own registration systems.
On Meijer’s website, you’ll fill out a brief questionnaire and then provide your zip code to select a store pharmacy providing vaccines.
On Kroger’s website, you’ll provide a zip code to see your nearest stores. If the COVID-19 vaccine is available at that store’s pharmacy, it should be at the top of the list. But there isn’t a way to filter out stores that don’t have COVID-19 vaccines.
Hoosiers 50 and older account for 35 percent of the state's population, but 98 percent of its COVID-19 deaths and 80 percent of hospitalizations.
This story has been updated.