More than 11,300 vaccinated by countyMarch 23, 2021
By CHRISTINE STEPHENSON
JASPER — As the state continues to open up vaccine eligibility, the Dubois County Health Department is working to vaccinate as many people as possible.
The county department is still vaccinating about 900 a week, or 180 a day, which is about the same rate as last month, Administrative Director Shawn Werner said. However, the department is now tasked with juggling both first and second dose appointments.
The department’s schedule is built by the state and only allows a certain number of people to sign up for the first dose at a time. Ideally, the goal is to have the number of first and second dose appointments be equal, Werner said, but sometimes it just doesn’t end up that way.
“Sometimes it was 75% second doses and 25% first doses, and then other days there was just the opposite,” he said.
In total, more than 11,300 people have been vaccinated by the county health department. This number doesn’t account for those vaccinated in other places, such as healthcare workers at Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center, and may include people from outside the county. Nonetheless, it’s a hopeful number, Werner said.
“It’s hard to give an accurate guess, but if we’ve got 43,000 in the county population … we’re probably getting close to about maybe a third, possibly or a fourth of the population vaccinated,” he said. “From what I heard, for herd immunity they’re wanting to get it up to maybe 70, 80% of the population. So we’ve still got a little ways to go yet.”
On top of COVID-19 vaccinations, the health department is still tasked with everyday duties such as regular immunizations, health inspections and birth and death records.
About seven or eight people were temporarily added to the staff to keep everything running as smoothly as possible, Werner said.
“You know, you add 180 shots a day and it’s definitely a lot, but so far we’re handling it,” he said.
In addition to daily appointments, the department has hosted several mass vaccination clinics at Jasper Middle School.
Werner said the department hopes to have one mass clinic a month, alternating between first and second dose clinics.
As of last week, Dubois County is in a blue advisory zone for COVID-19, which means the 7-day positivity rate for all tests has been less than 3%. All Indiana counties were either in a blue or yellow advisory zone as of Monday.
Although the trends are promising, Werner said, it’s still vital that people are still following the state’s guidelines.
“We’ll kind of have to see what happens for the next couple of weeks and follow what the governor says,” he said.
“We’re in a better place than we were in the past, and that’s what we want to continue.”
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