Indiana Opens Up Its COVID Vaccine Eligibility Requirements

CBS 2's Jim Williams reports the age to get a COVID-19 vaccine is dropping again in Indiana. Now people who are 45 and older can get a shot there. But in Illinois, the magic number for most people is still 65.

Video Transcript

IRIKA SARGENT: The age to get a vaccine dropping again in Indiana. Now people who are 45 and older can get a dose there. But in Illinois, the magic number for most people is still 65. We wanted to know why. CBS2's Jim Williams has been looking into it all day and is here with some answers.

SHERI ZUCCARELLI: I've been eagerly anticipating the day that Indiana lowered the age.

JIM WILLIAMS: Sheri Zuccarelli is 49 and lives in Indiana. Today she got word her state is making the COVID vaccine available to residents as young as 45. Zuccarelli signed up today.

SHERI ZUCCARELLI: It was very easy. I did it in less than five minutes.

JIM WILLIAMS: Unlike other states, including Illinois, Indiana has an age-based vaccine distribution system. Indiana first vaccinated the oldest members of the population, then worked toward the youngest. Indiana University economics professor Micah Pollak has studied the vaccine rollout.

MICAH POLLAK: They basically said, age is the single biggest factor in determining whether someone gets hospitalized or suffers death, and so we're just going to start by knocking down age groups one at a time. And so unlike other states, they didn't provide exceptions for frontline workers, or anything like that. But it's been a very organized rollout. And we're now to the point where we're ready to open up to 45 and above.

KARRIE SCHWARTZ: I think it's fantastic. We're cruising right along and there's some light at the end of the tunnel, finally.

JIM WILLIAMS: Karrie Schwartz, who is 50 and lives in northwest Indiana, got her first shot today, two weeks after signing up.

KARRIE SCHWARTZ: So the Indiana State Department of Health website was nice in that respect, because you can just go on, click the site by entering your zip code. You can go near your home to get vaccinated.

JIM WILLIAMS: While Illinois and Indiana have different philosophies on how the vaccine should be distributed, Illinois placing a higher priority on underlying conditions and occupations, both states have fully vaccinated 12% of their populations. Sheri Zuccarelli gets her first shot on March 31.

SHERI ZUCCARELLI: I want to get vaccinated very badly, so I'm very excited.

IRIKA SARGENT: And that was Jim Williams reporting. Also in Indiana, since early this month, all teachers can get the vaccine at any state vaccination site. Teachers of any age are eligible in Illinois, as well.