All residents ages 16 and over will be eligible for the vaccine beginning on March 31. Photo courtesy of wpta21.com.
ELLIE ALLEN | NEWS EDITOR | firstname.lastname@example.org
On March 23, Governor Eric Holcomb announced that all Indiana residents 16 and older will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine starting on March 31. Additionally, Holcomb stated that starting April 6, venue capacities and social gathering restrictions will be devised locally, rather than statewide, and the statewide mask mandate will become an advisory.
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to anyone 40 and older, volunteers in healthcare, first responders and specific high risk groups. Examples of high risk groups include people who use supplemental oxygen, are active dialysis patients or are pregnant.
Although the mask mandate will change to an advisory, face coverings will remain mandatory for state buildings and facilities. Holcomb also extended the state public health emergency for another 30 days.
1,469,362 Indiana residents have been able to receive the first dose of the COVID-19, and 970,161 are fully vaccinated. Indiana will be among a few states that have opened vaccine eligibility to 16 and older. Alaska was the first state to announce that anyone 16 or older in the state could receive the vaccine, and Mississippi, West Virginia and Utah are currently offering the vaccine to all residents. During the week of March 29, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas, Ohio, North Dakota and Montana will open the vaccine to everyone.
Holcomb said in his announcement that daily COVID-19 positive cases have been around 60 cases per day for the past two weeks. This, coupled with the fact that Holcomb said federal partners told states to expect large increases in vaccine amounts, went into the decision making process.
“Today, we are in a different and better place,” Governor Holcomb said. “As we continue to do these few things, the light at the end of the tunnel becomes brighter and brighter. Buying tickets for March Madness games, planning for all our local fairs and festivals, or the greatest spectacle in racing itself, tells me that all those life delights I once took for granted are coming back. ”
Businesses, local officials and other entities may impose more stringent guidelines as they deem fit.
Butler University is not currently requiring students to get vaccinated.
The Butler Collegian will continue to update this story as information becomes available.