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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Health care leaders want the new president to send more vaccine faster

Within weeks, IU Health plans to open 6 or 7 more clinics in hospitals, pharmacies, and urgent care facilities.

INDIANAPOLIS — Health care leaders are eager to hear how President Joe Biden will keep his promise to speed up the flow of COVID-19 vaccines to states.

It's taken more than a month for Indiana to vaccinate just 6 percent of Hoosiers. That's not nearly enough to slow the raging pandemic.

But IU Health is counting on the new president's promise to deliver more vaccine.

"Our team has a good plan, we are able to give them if we are confident in our vaccine supply. I think we are ready to give it in more places," said Dr. Chris Weaver, senior clinical care officer.  

Within weeks, IU Health plans to open 6 or 7 more clinics in hospitals, pharmacies, and urgent care facilities. That was not considered possible until now.

"I would say the vaccine supply has been the biggest unknown," Weaver said.

Clinics across the state want a delivery system they can count on, one that tells them how much vaccine is coming and when it will arrive.

"We've got vaccine doses that are sitting in freezers," said Thomas Duszynski, the director of epidemiology education at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health. "We need to get them into arms. That's the only way we are going to get out of this pandemic faster is what we want to hear."

Credit: WTHR

According to Duszynski, increasing the supply of vaccines would allow public health agencies to vaccinate Hoosiers on a much larger scale.

"Every county in the state has plans for mass vaccination clinics so that can occur," he said.

However, the biggest hope is not from a new president, but a new experimental drug Johnson and Johnson is testing. Unlike current vaccines, it requires only a single dose. That would cut the vaccination process in half.

"That could be a game-changer," Duszynski said. "We could vaccinate more people on a faster timeline than what we are currently at."

In the race to save lives, faster is better.