ISDH made aware of COVID-19 vaccine clinics set up for ineligible groups

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FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 is prepared at a vaccination center. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

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INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said ISDH had been made aware of some instances in which clinics were specifically set up for groups that are not currently eligible.

A spokesperson for ISDH said these cases are independent of any waiting lists.

Only Hoosiers 60 and older, as well as first responders and health care workers, are able to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr. Box said when ISDH learns about a clinic that has departed from eligibility guidelines they try to find out why and reeducate them about the importance of following the state’s priority list.

CBS4 requested a list of all of the clinics that defied eligibility guidelines. ISDH said will not name them at this time as they continue to work with these clinics to determine the next steps. It is unclear how many clinics were involved but Dr. Box said the instances were rare when individuals went “way outside the guidelines.”

In those cases, the state told clinics they will not provide them with any additional first-dose vaccines. They will cover the second dose, though.

“We will reallocate the doses initially intended for these clinics to other sites within the county so the county’s total allocation is not negatively impacted,” she said.

She stressed they are not trying to be the “vaccine police” but they want to ensure there is ethical and equitable access to the vaccine in all counties.

“We feel strongly we have made these eligibility decisions in a very good evidence-based manner in order to save lives and prevent hospitalizations and we will stand by that,” she said.

ISDH has communicated with all vaccine clinics about the importance of having standby lists that include eligible people, or those who would next in line in our age-based prioritization, as well as those who fall into one of the CDC’s categories of people who are at higher risk because of specific conditions.

“Those lists should be used for any extra doses at the end of the day. Many local health departments have thousands of people on their standby lists at this time,” said an ISDH spokesperson.

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