Eligibility expands to include those ages 12-15

Starting today, 12- to 15-year-old Hoosiers have access to a COVID-19 vaccine.

Federal officials gave final approval for the emergency use authorization on Wednesday, and state officials gave the go-ahead for the group to receive the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

Those 17 and younger are only eligible for the Pfizer vaccine, as other vaccine makers are still studying their vaccines in younger groups. Pfizer was previously approved for 17 and 16 year olds, and is studying the use of the vaccine in children 11 to 6 months old.

Clinical trials found the Pfizer vaccine to be even more effective for 12 to 15 year olds than it is for those 16 and older. The vaccine was found to be 100% effective at preventing serious disease in clinical trials for 12 to 15 year olds. It is 94% effective for those 16 and older, based on data from a real-world study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State data shows that more than 99% of new COVID-19 cases reported are among unvaccinated individuals, demonstrating real-world effectiveness, said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, state medical officer.

This means less than 1% of vaccinated Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, she said.

With high efficacy among all age groups, public health officials hope more Hoosiers will get vaccinated. In Indiana, 40% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, and 45% have received at least one dose, according to state data.

In Johnson County, more than 40% of eligible residents are fully vaccinated, and more than 47% of eligible residents have received at least one dose, state data shows.

As vaccinations continue, so does the spread of COVID-19 variants. Almost 1,900 cases have been discovered of four different variants in Indiana, according to data from the CDC.

Variant cases have begun to rise even more quickly in recent weeks, said Dr. Kristina Box, state health commissioner. Those variants are more contagious and more likely to produce a serious infection, so getting a vaccine is key to slowing the spread, she said.

Getting a vaccine is also key to getting back to normal and making sure kids can have a normal school year. Getting a vaccine means being able to go into a restaurant without a mask, and allowing a child to not have their schooling and activity schedules interrupted by the virus, Box said.

Experts now fear herd immunity might not be possible with so many Americans resistant to getting a vaccine.

Box encourages all Hoosiers to be ambassadors for vaccinations by helping debunk myths, while the state works to expand access to areas with a gap, she said.

Locally, walk-in appointments at all three area hospitals, Windrose Health in Edinburgh, Adult and Child’s primary care center in Franklin and the Johnson County Health Department’s Compass Park site are helping expand access.

The number of vaccines given has fallen in recent weeks, but there is still a fairly steady stream of those getting both first and second doses, local public health officials say.

From a low of 17 to 20 vaccines per day last month, the Compass Park clinic is again giving about 100 doses per day, said Betsy Swearingen, health department director.

Seeing more people get vaccinated again is a relief, but there is still a long way to go, Swearingen said.

The Compass Park clinic will receive about 60 doses a week of the Pfizer vaccine starting Monday, adding to the supply for adolescents, she said.

The clinic will continue to give out Moderna doses, from the stockpile of about 4,000 the department already has on hand, she said.

Before eligibility opened up, Johnson Memorial Hospital was considering whether to scale back operations, as there are not many appointments scheduled in the coming weeks, said Dr. David Dunkle, president and CEO.

For the past few weeks, the hospital clinic stayed busy with Franklin College staff and students who were encouraged to get vaccinated ahead of summer break, Dunkle said.

With adolescents now eligible, he hopes to see those appointments fill up, he said. Right now, the hospital has a 200 shot per day capacity.

Dunkle and Swearingen both hope the adolescents will take vaccines and possibly convince their parents to do the same if they’re on the fence.

“We are hoping that this younger group might also motivate their parents to get a vaccine too. If they see their children stepping up to do the right thing, that might help,” Swearingen said.

Dunkle just wants to see all ages vaccinated to avoid more hospitalizations and deaths from the virus that has already claimed 379 lives in Johnson County, he said.

A steady two to five patients a day are hospitalized with COVID-19 at Johnson Memorial, he said.

“I want people to realize that COVID is still out there. It is still hospitalizing people and people are severely ill,” Dunkle said. “Get vaccinated, get your family vaccinated. We are nowhere near herd immunity so there is still a risk.”

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Here is a look at how many people are vaccinated:

Fully vaccinated

Johnson County: 50,293; 40.6%

Indiana: 2.1 million, 40.3%

United States: 116.5 million, 35.1%

Partially vaccinated

Johnson County: 58,712, 47.4%

Indiana: 2.4 million, 45%

United States: 154.3 million, 46.2%

Sources: Indiana Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Here is a look at how those who are eligible can get a vaccine:

Register for the following sites online at ourshot.in.gov, by calling 211 or any Johnson County Public Library branch:

Johnson Memorial Hospital

When: Vaccines available 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturdays.

Where: 1125 W Jefferson St, Franklin. Parking in Blue Lot H.

Type: Pfizer.

Walk-in: Available

Compass Park

When: Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon.

Where: Event Center, 690 State Street, Franklin.

Type: Moderna, limited doses of Pfizer starting 5/17.

Walk-in: Available

Adult and Child Health Franklin

When: Vaccines available noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Where: 1860 Northwood Plaza, Franklin

Type: Moderna.

Walk-in: Available

Windrose Health Edinburgh

When: Vaccines available 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays.

Where: 911 E. Main Cross Street, Edinburgh

Type: Multiple.

Walk-in: Available

Community Health Annex South

When: Vaccines available Monday to Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: 1346 East County Line Road, Indianapolis. Drive-thru clinic.

Type: Pfizer.

Walk-in: Available

Franciscan Health Indianapolis

When: Vaccines available Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Where: 8111 S Emerson Ave, Indianapolis.

Type: Pfizer.

Walk-in: Available

Walmart and Sam’s Club Pharmacies

When: During pharmacy hours.

Where: Walmart stores at 2125 N Morton St, Franklin; 882 S State Road 135, Greenwood; 1133 N Emerson Avenue, Greenwood; Sams Club at 1101 Windhorst Way, Greenwood.

Type: Federal Retail Pharmacy, type may vary.

Appoints for the following sites are made with the pharmacy, vaccine type may vary:

Kroger Pharmacies

Where: Kroger stores at 5961 N State Road 135, Greenwood; 2200 Independence Dr., Greenwood; 970 N. Morton St., Franklin; 3100 Meridian Parke Dr., Greenwood; 8850 S Emerson Ave, Indianapolis.

Registration: kroger.com/rx/covid-eligibility or call 866-211-5320

Meijer Pharmacies

Where: 2390 N Morton St, Franklin; 150 S Marlin Dr, Greenwood.

Registration: Text COVID to 75049, visit clinic.meijer.com/register.

Walgreens Pharmacies

Where: 1290 N State Road 135, Greenwood; 720 S State Road 135, Greenwood; 700 US Highway 31 S, Greenwood; 8945 Madison Ave, Indianapolis; 20 S Morton St, Franklin, IN.

Registration: walgreens.com/findcare/vaccination/covid-19

Costco Pharmacy

Where: 4628 E. County Line Rd, Indianapolis.

Registration: costco.com/covid-vaccine.html

Source: Indiana Department of Health

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Here is a look at the latest numbers available, between May 6 and Wednesday:

Johnson County 

Cases: 111

Deaths: 1

7-day positivity rate: 5.1%


Cases: 5,267

Deaths: 33

7-day positivity rate: 5.3%

Source: Indiana Department of Health