Emergency preparedness report: Does Indiana make the grade?

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021 file photo, pharmacy technician Sochi Evans fills a syringe with a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at Texas Southern University in Houston. Coronavirus cases are continuing to decline in the U.S. after a winter surge. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University say the seven-day average of new coronavirus cases in the country dropped below 100,000 on Friday, Feb. 12 for the first time since November 4. (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle via AP, File)

INDIANAPOLIS — New data has been released on how prepared Indiana is for a public health emergency like the current pandemic.

The new study came out Wednesday rating all the states by several different factors, like vaccine rates and patient safety.

The study is called “Ready or Not 2020: Protecting the Public’s Health from Diseases, Disasters and Bioterrorism.”

It essentially asked if states were ready for an emergency, and for the most part it showed they were not.

The study was done by the Trust for America’s Health organization. President and CEO John Auerbach says while public health departments in states like Indiana performed admirably, there was a lot of room for improvement.

According to Auerbach, last year before the pandemic, Indiana was in the bottom third of prepared states. The Hoosier state was also in the bottom third during the pandemic as well.

The report looked at things like seasonal flu vaccination numbers. Auerbach says only 50% percent of Hoosiers who were recommended to get the flu shot actually got it.

“That suggests that the state was less prepared to mobilize for a full vaccination effort, as is necessary with COVID than it might have been if that percentage was at a higher level.”

But it wasn’t all bad. Indiana did well with nurses being able to help in emergencies because of the nurse licensure compact. It allows them to practice across state lines in the event of emergency. The Hoosier state was one of 34 in the country to take part in the compact.

The study also looked at how important sick leave was for workers during the pandemic, as well as funding for federal, state, and local departments.

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