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Second vaccine on its way, but impact won't be felt for months

Even though clinics are vaccinating people by the thousands and many more each day, it could be months before there is a noticeable impact on a raging pandemic.

INDIANAPOLIS — More help is on the way to hospitals and long term health care facilities battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

A second vaccine is on the way. 

The Moderna product received federal approval over the weekend. Trucks started rolling Monday morning. They can't arrive soon enough to clinics who don't know how much they are getting and when they will get it. 

Indiana hospitals vaccinated thousands of health care workers in the four days since their clinics opened. 

According to administrators, they are running better than expected. 

"The excitement is there," said Dr. Chris Weaver. "The schedules are full and our teams are doing great."

Weaver is a senior vice president of IU Health. He said its clinics have administered 3,300 vaccinations.

"My biggest concern, really, just has to do with the vaccine supply and the hope we get vaccines approved and are able to get doses shipped," he explained.

Even though clinics are vaccinating people by the thousands and many more each day, it could be months before there is a noticeable impact on a raging pandemic. 

Are we still fighting a fire with a garden hose? Epidemiologist Thomas Duszynski thought for a few seconds. 

"Yes, I think we have a long way to go yet," he said. "That's what I want people to understand." 

Duszynski is the director of epidemiology at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. He believes millions of Hoosiers will have to be vaccinated before there is a significant reduction the number of cases and spread of COVID-19

"We will turn the corner when we can start vaccinating the general public and I believe that is when we will see the slowing of what I call community spread," he said.

Millions of doses of the just-approved Moderna vaccine are being shipped. Catalent's Bloomington facility is running 24/7 to process and fill vials with 20 million doses of the vaccine before the end of the month. Hospitals 13News contacted don't know how much they are getting or when it will arrive.

Meanwhile, some health care workers are doubling as vaccine pitchmen.

"The myths are not real. I feel great. It was a quick procedure," said Steve Glover, patient coordinator with Community Health Network, after getting a shot in the arm. 

"We need it," Glover explained. "We need to get back to our lives and family and friends."

Family and friends who, despite the massive vaccination effort underway, still need to protect themselves with face masks and social distancing.