Madison County Health Department administrator frustrated with current COVID-19 vaccine supply

Coronavirus

FILE – In this Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for COVID-19 sits on a table. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

MADISON COUNTY, Ind. – It’s been one week since Indiana counties launched COVID-19 vaccine clinics, and appointments are booking up fast for eligible Hoosiers.

The Madison County Health Department said about 600 people were vaccinated at its clinic last week. However, Stephenie Grimes, the department’s administrator, said that number could be much higher.

“It is just very frustrating that we don’t have more vaccine because we could double it,” said Grimes.

She believes her department could vaccinate 1,200 people a week at least.

Madison County expects to receive 400 to 600 doses of vaccine a week right now. Grimes explained that is not enough doses for the clinic to be open five days a week during the day and night.

“We just got another shipment just the other day, and we will get more tomorrow. However, because we are completely booked, we don’t have extra. We just have just enough to get us through the end of this week.” she said.

Grimes said she is not sure why supply is not meeting demand. Appointments for first shots are booked through mid-February in Madison County, according to Grimes.

“I think the whole state’s mission is shots in arms, and I feel like because we are able to do that and not having enough vaccine, we are not fulfilling our mission as efficiently as we could have,” she said.

Her health department has to strategically plan out the number of vaccine administrations per week so they have enough doses for appointments during the following week.

“I am confident we will get to a point where we won’t be so restricted, but in the meantime, we are doing the best we can with the resources we have,” she said.

Hamilton County’s health department also said appointments are booked through mid-February based on current projections. It is possible more appointments could be added if the state adds more vaccine to their supply.

“Through no fault of the county or the state, we are kind of limited to the amount of doses we get,” said Christian Walker, the public health preparedness coordinator for the Hamilton County Health Department.

Hamilton County vaccinated about 750 people last week at its clinic. They are prepared to ramp up services as more vaccine becomes available.

Walker admits the process could be going quicker if they had more doses.

“We will take what we can get, and we will push out everything they can offer to us,” he said.

Roughly 455,000 residents are scheduled to be vaccinated by the end of January. Last week, state health officials said they really do not know when Indiana will get a big bump in doses.

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