COVID-19 vaccine administered

Walgreens pharmacist Mindy Keeton delivers a Moderna COVID-19 vaccine shot on Jan. 11 at the AHEPA apartments in Merrillville.

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Hoosiers age 60 and older now can make an appointment to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The State Department of Health announced Tuesday it expects the federal government to continue delivering a sufficient number of vaccine doses in coming weeks to drop the minimum eligibility age to 60 from 65.

Appointments to receive the free immunization must be made online at ourshot.in.gov, or by calling 211.

State officials said nearly 91,000 Hoosiers between ages 60 and 64 made a vaccine appointment in the first eight hours they were available Tuesday.

A friend or family member may make an appointment on behalf of a person age 60 and older. But the person registered will be required to provide photo identification before he or she is given the COVID-19 vaccine.

Appointments can be scheduled at 380 sites across the state, including hospitals, clinics, local health departments and some retail pharmacies. Each site sets its own hours and days of service.

In Northwest Indiana, there are 20 immunization sites in Lake County, five in Porter County, eight in LaPorte County, and one each in Newton and Jasper counties.

At this time, age is the only eligibility factor for general distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine in Indiana.

No special consideration is being given to younger Hoosiers in poor health, or individuals working in specific occupations, such as teachers or grocery store workers.

Dr. Lindsay Weaver, chief medical officer at the State Department of Health, said Indiana’s vaccination plan always has focused on getting the vaccine to those individuals whose age or health conditions make them most susceptible to the coronavirus.

Data show Hoosiers age 60 and older comprise just 22% of the state's population but account for approximately two-thirds of COVID-19 hospitalizations and 93% of COVID-19 deaths in Indiana.

According to the State Department of Health, the FDA-authorized vaccine already has been injected into more than 893,000 Indiana health care providers, long-term care facility residents and staff, public safety officials and Hoosiers age 65 and up.

In addition, approximately 440,000 Hoosiers have received both doses of the vaccine and are considered fully immunized against COVID-19, according to the state health agency.

Studies show the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are up to 94% effective at preventing COVID-19 infection in adults of all races, ethnicities and genders who receive two doses.

A day and time to get the second dose will be scheduled during the 15-minute appointment where a person receives his or her first vaccine dose.

Recipients then will receive reminder messages leading up to their second dose appointment.

Gallery: COVID-19 vaccine administered at AHEPA apartments

This article originally ran on nwitimes.com.