Statewide vaccine numbers have remained low and flat, but the state continues to see good uptake of booster shots, with about 50% of previously vaccinated individuals having received one. Graphic by 
Indiana State Department of Health
Statewide vaccine numbers have remained low and flat, but the state continues to see good uptake of booster shots, with about 50% of previously vaccinated individuals having received one. Graphic by Indiana State Department of Health
INDIANAPOLIS — COVID-19 vaccinations across the state and local dropped this week, even as statewide activity hit all-time highs as the omicron variant rages across Indiana.

Indiana remains one of the U.S.’s least-vaccinated states and northeast Indiana lags the statewide average widely.

This past week, a total of 35,543 Hoosiers came in for their first vaccination, which was a drop from an average of about 46,000 per week over the previous two weeks.

Local vaccinations were also down, dropping to 353 first-timers from an average of 546 per day two weeks prior.

DeKalb County led with 128 new vaccinations, Steuben County had 120, Noble County logged 66 new vaccinations and LaGrange County had just 39.

Overall, 53% of all Hoosiers are now fully vaccinated, a rate that isn’t changing much over time. The state passed the 50% mark in mid-November and has been crawling upward since.

Locally, rates are far behind the statewide average.

Steuben County remains at 44%, DeKalb County sits at 40%, Noble County is edging toward 39% and LaGrange County still sits shy of 24%, making it the lowest rate in the state.

The big news on the vaccine front this past week is that shots won’t be required for employees at large employers. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled against an Occupational Health and Safety Administration rule that would have required all employers with 100 or more works to have their staff vaccinated or submit to weekly testing for COVID-19.

The Supreme Court did uphold the vaccine requirement for health care settings, however, so workers in hospitals and other facilities will still have to get vaccinated.

While it appeared that the looming vaccine mandate may have briefly pushed some Hoosiers toward shots — numbers were elevated a bit in December — that exterior pressure is now gone.

Vaccine numbers also remain stagnant in Indiana despite the fact that cases have rocketed to new all-time highs, running about double the previous all-time high when it was set back in December 2020.

Hospitalization numbers are at an all-time high, also passing their previous all-time peak set back on Nov. 30, 2020.

Deaths, while not past their all-time high of more than 100 per day set back in December 2020, they have been climbing. Indiana has averaged more than 75 deaths reported per day over the past two weeks, the second-highest rate ever.

The new, extremely infectious omicron variant of the virus has been at fault for the newest spike, which is coming on top of statewide activity from the delta variant that was already running very high this winter before omicron arrived.

The one-two punch of variants has put Indiana in arguably its worst spot ever.

Vaccinations have been proven to significantly reduce the chances of hospitalization or death, with more than 80% of those continuing to occur among the state’s unvaccinated cohort despite that group being a slight minority of the total population.

Indiana has seen slightly over 18,000 reinfection cases — people who caught COVID-19 once and have since caught it a second time — so far in 2022, while also seeing about 44,000 breakthrough cases. Indiana has significantly more vaccinated individuals than people who had been previously infected — about 3.6 million compared to 1.4 million — so breakthrough rates of immunity whether natural or vaccine-given are running similar right now.

Health officials have noted that breakthrough rates are increasing in part because immunity from shots wanes over time. Vaccinated individuals should seek to get a booster dose of the vaccine six months after their original Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

That booster dose redoubles the immune system’s recognition and defenses against COVID-19 and can give individual renewed protection against the virus.

Most of the shots being given out in Indiana on a day-to-day basis now are boosters as vaccinated individuals seek to bolster their immunity.

Indiana has given out about 1.55 million booster doses among its 3.6 million vaccinated individuals. However, only about 3 million of those have passed the six-month mark, making booster rates roughly around 50% at this time.
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