Doctors address vaccine hesitancy as demand still outpaces supply in some areas

The Daily Reformer

INDIANAPOLIS — More than 1.1 million Hoosiers are now fully vaccinated in Indiana, though many people still have concerns about the shots. Doctors empathize with community members who are still hesitant.

“I agree it was very fast,” Dr. Paul Calkins, Associate Chief Medical Executive at IU Health, said of the authorization of the vaccines. “I don’t believe that it was unsafe fast however.”

Calkins said there are still more people who want the vaccine than many IU Health clinics have supply for. Doctors still hopeful to reach herd immunity sometime this summer, which means roughly 75% of Hoosiers will have immunity.

“We’re adding about 500,000 fully vaccinated Hoosiers a month, so in order to get up to a really high number, we’re still several months away,” Calkins said. “Probably into July in order to get up into that kind of range.”

Those on the frontlines know some people are concerned. Calkins addressed what he regards as a myth about infertility and the vaccine.

“The fertility question was raised by a German anti-vax physician back in December,” Calkins said. “Apparently he looked at the genetic code in a placenta and found some stretches that looked kind of like a genetic code for the spike protein. So, he started suggesting the antibodies to the vaccine might attack the placenta. Unfortunately, it’s all over the anti-vax social media sites, but I can tell you that 23 women got pregnant during the Pfizer vaccine trial, twelve of them who had received the vaccine, all of them were fine. There have been over 30,000 vaccinated women just since mid-February who had become pregnant, there hasn’t been any change in complications.”

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Calkins acknowledges people are getting side effects from the vaccine, like temporarily sore arms, tiredness and a fever. But he said that getting COVID-19 or spreading it to others is worse.

In Marion County, community organizations can apply for a portion of $1 million in grant funding. This is money groups can use to address disparities in health and help those who suffered economically during this time.

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Dr. Virginia Caine, Director of the Marion County Public Health Department, said organizations who can address vaccine hesitancy and education could receive some of the funding, and help their communities.

“The best person and no one better qualified to outreach to people in the community is the people in those same social networks, people living in those same environments,” Caine said.

The program is focused on addressing racial inequities in the COVID-19 response. Caine said, for example, an organization receiving grant money could host a town hall, bring in experts and educate people about the vaccine.

“We need people to provide the facts to the folks in those communities,” Caine said. “Where do I go to get the vaccine? How do I register?”

Community organizations can submit their applications from now through April 30. The awards will be announced May 14.

People can find more information on This is where they can fill out an online form that explains how they plan to address a certain need related to COVID-19.

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The city will hold virtual orientations for interested grant applicants. One will be held in English on Wednesday, April 7 at 10:00 a.m. and Thursday, April 8 at 6:00, and in Spanish on Wednesday, April 7 at 6:00 p.m.

The city said the average COVID Community Recovery Grant award will likely be $25,000. But some groups will receive dollars as low as $2,500 for smaller projects.

Fox 59

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