Local health experts concerned about declining vaccination rates

Vaccination rates in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties, as well as statewide, are following a nationwide downward trend.

Posted: May 5, 2021 2:10 PM
Updated: May 5, 2021 10:28 PM

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Vaccination rates in Tippecanoe and surrounding counties, as well as statewide, are following a nationwide downward trend.

President Joe Biden wants to vaccinate 70% of the U.S. population by July 4 but vaccination rates nationwide are dropping, according to the Associated Press.

In Indiana, the seven day average of total daily doses is falling and rural counties in the WLFI viewing area are following the same trend.

Clinton County Health Officer Dr. Stephen Tharp, says demand dropped off beginning a couple of weeks ago.

The county's clinic has seen appointments pick up over the last couple of days but, Tharp says, most of those appointments are for the second, not the first, dose.

As News 18 previously reported, the Clinton County Health Department wanted to administer 10,000 doses by last month. But the county still is plateauing around 8,000 doses, or about 35% of the population fully vaccinated.

"We'd like to be much higher and hope to get that way somehow,: Tharp says. "I think that we'll do much better once the vaccine is authorized for younger people."

Tharp expects the COVID-19 vaccine could be available to people 12 years of age and older within the next few days. He says the vaccine could be available to people five years and age and older by September.

In Tippecanoe County, the number of fully vaccinated people increased by 50% over the past week. But the state's vaccination dashboard shows the average number of total daily doses began to dip yesterday.

IU Health Arnett Chief Medical Officer Dr. James Bien says about a third of the county's residents are fully vaccinated. But the county's 21 clinics have the capacity to do much more.

He says enthusiasm about the vaccine was much stronger earlier in the rollout.

"Vaccination is not a tool in the toolbox to fight this pandemic, it's the solution to the pandemic," he says. "The tools are masks and hand hygiene and social distancing. This is the solution. We've got it. We've got a few of them and we've got capacity so join the crowd. Get vaccinated."

Bien says more variants of the coronavirus could develop in the community with continued circulation. He says the community can't reopen and relax until a larger percentage of the population is vaccinated.

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Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 947918

Reported Deaths: 15377
CountyCasesDeaths
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