FLOYD COUNTY, Ind. (WAVE) - As the COVID-19 vaccine starts to roll out, many may be wondering why the process to get everyone the shot seems to be slow.
“The holdup here, like the frontlines of basically everywhere else, is where’s the vaccine?” Floyd County Health Officer Dr. Tom Harris said.
In Floyd County, he said that about 5,500 people have been vaccinated, including health care workers and first responders in the state’s Tier 1A. People 80 years and over have also begun getting vaccinated.
“We had 600 vaccines available to give this week and only 600,” Harris told WAVE 3 News. “Only 600. The issue is we have a system there that can tolerate 500 people a day. So, we have much more capability than we do vaccine.”
Harris noted that registrations for this week’s 600 doses came in at 8 a.m. on Friday and were filled by 10:15 a.m.
“There’s a lot of interest in getting the vaccine,” Harris said.
On Wednesday, Indiana opened registration for people 70 years old and older to get vaccinated. According to the state Wednesday afternoon, 59,723 Hoosiers between 70 and 79 had signed up to be vaccinated.
However, in some cases, people have complained about long wait times on the phone and difficulties loading the website. State officials claim this is due to the amount of people trying to sign up and are asking for patience.
“I’m a patient individual, too,” Governor Eric Holcomb said. “I, of course, like perfection. But I understand. What you’re witnessing is... This is not Cabbage Patch Dolls or Tickle Me Elmo that we’re ordering. This is vaccinations to the tune of hundreds of thousands.”
Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the chief medical officer for the Indiana Department of Health, said if registration opens at a particular location and it is full, people should try back later, as the state continues to add dates, times, and places.
“We definitely see our higher numbers in the morning, so I would look in the afternoon or the evening or the super early morning to try and register,” Weaver said. “It’s also a refreshing of the browser, so a lot of IT things but like I said we are doing everything we can to try and make it a smooth process so more people can get registered at the same time.”
Harris said the website does ask for insurance information, which worries some people. But since it’s a free vaccination, no one should be concerned about having to pay.
People who are uncomfortable signing up online can call 211 or their local health department to get help.
Dr. Harris said Floyd County will receive a little over 1,000 doses more of the vaccine next week, and the week after, it is expected to receive 400.
“We may have more. The number has been changing daily and sometimes more than once a day,” Harris said.
Harris stated that the new strain of COVID-19 found in the state is more infectious, but not more deadly. He said the vaccine will protect against the new strain, too.
He said the main concern is getting more doses of the vaccine distributed.
“Pretty much everybody could get more vaccine than what we’ve got right now,” Harris said. “We hear it from the community, ‘We’re ready for our vaccine, when can we get it?’ We understand that we’re as frustrated as they are.”
Dr. Harris suggested that while Hoosiers wait to be vaccinated, they should continue to wear masks, maintain social distance, stay home if sick, and get tested if they have symptoms.
To register for a vaccination, visit ourshot.in.gov.