INDIANAPOLIS — On his first full day in office, President Joe Biden announced a dramatic ramp-up in vaccination rollouts, invoking the Defense Production Act.
“Today, I am unveiling a national strategy on COVID-19, an executive action to beat this pandemic,” President Joe Biden said. “Our plan starts with mounting a safe, aggressive vaccination campaign to meet our goal of administering 100 million shots in our first 100 days."
This as Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and state health officials announced Thursday they were working with a limited supply.
“We are limited in how quickly we can expand vaccine eligibility by the amount of vaccine available at the federal level,” said Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristine Box.
The need is ever-present. At IU Health Neuroscience Center, the line is steady with people waiting to get their shots.
Ramping up the vaccine supply will require more space and more volunteers, not to mention more clinic supplies, anything from gloves and masks, to sanitizer and band-aids.
“And then when we start adding in the older population, we need extra staff just to be walkers to walk with those that need an arm to keep everyone safe,” said Mary Kay Foster, who runs the clinic.
As of Thursday morning, the state has given 450,000 doses to health care workers, first responders and eligible Hoosiers. That includes people in their 70s and older.
“Demand is high and the appointments go quickly. Nearly all our appointments are booked for the next couple of weeks for those who are eligible,” said Dr. Lindsay Weaver, the chief medical officer for the Indiana State Department of Health.
People ages 65-70 will be the next group, but for now, you can’t make an appointment until the state knows what to expect from the federal supply.
“While you may be frustrated at the availability of appointments, you can rest assured that our goal is to ensure that there will be a dose for you when you arrive,” said Weaver.
Biden assured the nation that’s the direction the country is headed.
“We didn’t get into this mess overnight and it’s going to take months for us to turn things around and let me be equally clear, we will get through this. We will defeat this pandemic,” he said.