Moderna

This Jan. 12 file photo shows a vile of the Moderna vaccine used at the Steuben County COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana Department of Health announced Feb. 23 that Hoosiers age 60 and older are now eligible to receive a free COVID-19 vaccine.

This expansion of eligibility makes the vaccine available to an additional 432,000 Hoosiers.

The state had previously limited eligibility to those 65 and older, so Feb. 23’s announcement adds another five-year cohort to the vaccine rolls.

People attempting to sign up that morning found themselves stuck in a queue, as a rush of Hoosiers attempting to get appointments once again overloaded the online registration portal.

As of 9:30 a.m. Feb. 23, wait times on the Our Shot website were running about 30 minutes.

Due to limited vaccine supplies nationally, Indiana has prioritized health care workers, first responders and those who are most vulnerable in its vaccine rollout. Individuals age 60 and older account for more than 22% of the state’s population but 64% of the COVID-19 hospitalizations and 93.3% of the deaths.

Vaccine appointments for this newly eligible population will be available over the next four to six weeks to align with the state receiving its expected weekly vaccine allocation. Hoosiers who cannot find an appointment at the nearest location are encouraged to look at other sites in neighboring counties. Appointments are being added regularly as vaccine supplies permit.

To schedule a vaccine, visit ourshot.in.gov and select a location from one of more than 370 clinics around the state. Hoosiers who do not have a computer or cell phone or those who need assistance scheduling an appointment can call 211 or contact one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging or AARP. Nearly 70 libraries around the state also are helping Hoosiers schedule their appointments.

Vaccination clinics that are part of the federal vaccine program, including those at Walmart, Sam’s Club and Kroger, appear on the clinic map at ourshot.in.gov but are scheduled through those retailers’ platforms, not through the state centralized system.

To date, more than 60% of eligible Hoosiers have scheduled an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Indiana has already announced that the next group up will be Hoosiers aged 50-59 and people of any age with five major comorbidities.

Those five comorbidities include people on active dialysis for kidney disease or failure; those with Down syndrome; post-solid organ transplant recipients; Hoosiers with sickle cell disease; and those who are actively in treatment for cancer in last three months or with active lung cancer or blood cancers including lymphoma, leukemia and multiple myeloma.

As of Feb. 22, 893,246 Hoosiers had received a first dose of vaccine, and 440,028 were fully vaccinated.

About 19,000 residents in the four-county area of DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben have received at least their first shot of a two-shot vaccine regimen, representing about 11.5% of the local population.

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