INDIANAPOLIS – Almost 100,000 Indiana residents signed up for vaccination appointments by noon Wednesday – only hours after the state officially opened eligibility for all Hoosiers ages 16 and older.
Indiana also dropped its residency requirement as it opens a federal mass vaccination site in Gary and is helping to get students at universities vaccinated.
“We want to remove any barrier,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said.
Gov. Eric Holcomb said 39% of eligible Hoosiers have either been vaccinated or made appointments, which is more than 2 million Hoosiers.
Box tempered Wednesday's briefing by noting the state's 7-day positivity rate of cases jumped from 3.3% last week to 3.9% this week. And the number of hospitalized Hoosiers is creeping back up.
She said “we can't throw caution to the wind and behave as if the pandemic is over.”
Box also noted that “we are in a race between the vaccine and the variants” and said variant strains of the virus are gaining steam in the state.
But Holcomb is still dropping statewide restrictions and a mask mandate as of Tuesday.
He said that's because he looks at more than the positivity rate.
“It's many numbers,” Holcomb said, including the ability to care for the sick, and state resources are plentiful.
He seemed miffed at Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, who told media he would like Holcomb to maintain the mask order.
Holcomb said Beshear has his cell number, but he hasn't heard from him. And he will continue to make decisions in Indiana based on data and conditions on the ground, he said.
As of Wednesday the state added 1,127 new cases and one new death. Allen County added 73 new cases and one new death.
Box also said Wednesday there have been 211 “breakthrough cases” of people getting COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.
She said many of those are in the elderly population, whose immune systems are hampered.
No vaccine is full-proof.
At a glance
Fully vaccinated residents
Adams: 5,242 (14.7%)
Allen: 54,905 (14.5%)
DeKalb: 6,421 (14.8%)
Huntington: 7,019 (19.2%)
Kosciusko: 10,146 (12.8%)
LaGrange: 3,651 ( 9.2%)
Noble: 6,461 (13.5%)
Steuben: 7,632 (22.1%)
Wabash: 5,575 (18%)
Wells: 4,614 (16.3%)
Whitley: 5,894 (17.4%)