People between the ages of 12 and 15 already make up nearly 2% of Hoosiers who have received one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, less than three weeks after that age group became eligible, Indiana Department of Health statistics show.
Statewide, that means about 50,000 young people have gotten one shot of the two-shot Pfizer immunization since it was approved for use in the age group.
Mindy Waldron, Allen County Department of Health administrator, said the department's vaccination site at Memorial Coliseum has administered about 430 vaccinations to those 12 through 15 as of Tuesday. That amounts to 25 to 40 shots a day, or a little more than 1% of the shots given, she said.
“This is very encouraging, and we hope the trend continues,” Waldron said.
Connie Heflin, executive director of the nonprofit Super Shot clinics, said about 150 shots in the 12 to 15 age group will have been given by today at the group's clinic at 1515 Hobson Road. Super Shot has been administering the vaccinations since Tuesday.
She said she also is encouraged that parents are coming forward to have their children immunized, and she is now working on finding funding for an incentive program – perhaps in the form of a scholarship – to encourage more vaccinations among teens and 12-year-olds.
Heflin pointed out the clinic can check state immunization records to find out if someone getting a COVID-19 vaccination needs other shots for school or other reasons – important because many people delayed childhood immunizations during the uncertainty of the pandemic.
“We know that the school-age population was the group most behind on immunizations during COVID,” she said, “so we're trying to catch them up.”
She also said someone getting a COVID-19 vaccination no longer needs to wait 14 days either before or after the shot to get a different vaccination, such as those required for school – a change from previous rules.
Getting youngsters vaccinated means they can feel safer in going to summer camp, playing sports, participating in community activities or going on a family vacation, Heflin said.
And vaccination also means kids likely won't get the virus or spread it to younger children not yet approved for vaccination, she added.
Parkview Health's Mirro Center for Research and Innovation has seen an increase in vaccinating younger patients since 12- to 15-year-olds became eligible, said Tami Brigle, Parkview spokeswoman.
“On average, 25% of the clinic's daily patients are in this age group,” she said.
Parkview pediatrician Dr. Duane Hougendobler called the vaccine “a huge win” for the age group and “absolutely” recommends it.
“It minimizes the stress and disruption our kids have experienced over the past year and a half,” he says in an online article.
“This step could get them back to their normal activities, which are important for their physical, intellectual, social and mental development.'
Hougendobler also said that while COVID-19 in children is relatively rare, a number of those children develop multisystem problems and can become quite ill. Some have died.
Nationally, health officials are counting on vaccinating teens and 12-year-olds to help reach a goal of 70% of Americans having had one shot by July 4 – bringing the nation closer to herd immunity.
In Indiana, the 12- to 15-year-old age group includes about 358,000 young people, according to the federal census.
Officials have worried about lack of acceptance of the shots reflected in polls, including one that found parents would “definitely” not get children that age vaccinated or would only do so if required by schools.
Super Shot accepts appointments and walk-ins 2 to 6 p.m Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays.
Appointments can be made at 260-424-7468 or by calling 211 or checking SuperShot.org.
Walk-in times for the Coliseum site are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays, 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturdays.
Information about Mirro Center shot appointments and walk-in times is at Parkview.com/covidvaccine.
At all three sites, parents, guardians or another responsible adult must have a valid ID and accompany those 12 to 15.
The state's vaccine dashboard does not yet register any fully vaccinated 12- to 15-year-olds because the second dose of the Pfizer vaccine must be given about three weeks after the first shot. The Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for the age group.
About 15% of the state's COVID-19 cases are in those under 19, state statistics say. The state does not list cases by smaller age ranges.
Allen County on Thursday reported 27 new cases of COVID-19 and no new deaths, bringing the total to 41,633 cases and 685 deaths.
Statewide, 418 new cases and 20 new deaths were reported, bringing totals to 745,690 cases and 13,239 confirmed deaths and 418 deaths in patients with symptoms but without a positive test.
Thursday, the state also added 765 newly submitted cases to the total. The cases are from past data, including some from other states.
In other northeast Indiana counties, Noble County reported the most new cases, six. Wabash County reported four new cases. DeKalb County reported three while Steuben, LaGrange, Kosciusko and Huntington counties each reported two. Adams, Wells and Whitley counties reported one each.
Whitley County reported the only death.
At a glance
Fully vaccinated residents by county
Adams: 8,975 (32%)
Allen: 135,159 (42.9%)
DeKalb: 13,539 (36.9%)
Huntington: 13,452 (42.9%)
Kosciusko: 22,799 (34%)
LaGrange: 6,738 (21.6%)
Noble: 13,128 (34%)
Steuben: 12,411 (41.2%)
Wabash: 9,505 (35.2%)
Wells: 8,739 (36.8%)
Whitley: 11,819 (40.8%)
Source: Indiana Department of Health