On Tuesday, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced the long-awaited news that Hoosiers age 60 and over are now eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.

This expansion of eligibility makes the vaccine available to an additional 432,000 Hoosiers.

“Due to limited vaccine supplies nationally, Indiana has prioritized healthcare workers, first responders and those who are most vulnerable in its vaccine rollout,” stated the ISDH on Tuesday.

Individuals age 60 and older account for more than 22 percent of the state’s population but 64 percent of the COVID-19 hospitalizations and 93.3 percent of the deaths.

“Additional groups will be added as more vaccine becomes available,” stated the ISDH.

To date, more than 60 percent of eligible Hoosiers have scheduled an appointment to be vaccinated against COVID-19. As of Monday, 893,246 Hoosiers have received the first dose of vaccine, and 440,028 are fully vaccinated.

On Thursday at the Honeywell Center’s vaccination clinic, volunteer and Southwood High School student Monica Hobson, said they were mostly administering second doses for those who have had the first from when the local clinic first opened at the Wabash County Museum several weeks ago.

Hobson said they usually have more vaccines available than people to administer them to.

“We usually have to call people,” said Hobson, referring to the local waiting list.

As of Tuesday, the ISDH vaccine dashboard reported a total of 4,895 first vaccine doses had been administered in Wabash County, with 22 of those performed Monday. The dashboard also reported a total of 1,828 second vaccine doses had been administered in Wabash County, with 53 of those performed Monday.

Vaccine appointments for this newly eligible population will be available over the next four to six weeks to align with the state receiving its expected weekly vaccine allocation, stated the ISDH. Hoosiers who cannot find an appointment at the nearest location are encouraged to look at other sites in neighboring counties. Appointments are being added regularly as vaccine supplies permit.

By noon Tuesday, nearly 63,000 Hoosiers ages 60 to 64 had scheduled a free COVID-19 vaccine in their first three hours of eligibility. As of Tuesday, 905,236 Hoosiers had received a first dose of vaccine, and 459,603 are fully vaccinated.

Effective immediately, only individuals who live in Indiana and meet the eligibility criteria can receive a vaccine at an Indiana clinic.

“This will ensure that doses allocated to Indiana go to Hoosiers. All clinics have been reminded to verify eligibility prior to administering a vaccine,” stated the ISDH. “Out-of-state residents who received their first dose in Indiana can still receive their second dose at the same clinic.”

The ISDH will host 10 vaccine clinics for eligible Hoosiers around the state from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. The clinics are being added to areas where there are currently no open vaccine appointments. Individuals must register in advance at https://ourshot.in.gov. No walk-ups will be allowed.

The locations are:

Ivy Tech, 4475 Central Ave., Columbus.

Ivy Tech, 251 E. Clinton, Frankfort.

Ivy Tech, 50 Walnut St., Lawrenceburg.

Greene County Fairgrounds, 4503 W. State Road 54, Bloomfield.

Ivy Tech, 410 E. Columbus Dr., East Chicago.

3714 Franklin St., Michigan City.

Inn at Spring Mill State Park, 333 Indiana 60 E., Mitchell.

Randolph County Fairgrounds, 1885 US 27, Winchester.

Mid-America Science Park, 821 S. Lake Rd. South, Scottsburg.

White County Fairgrounds, 12 N. 25 East, Reynolds.

To schedule a vaccine, visit https://ourshot.in.gov and select a location from one of more than 370 clinics around the state. Hoosiers who do not have a computer or cell phone or those who need assistance scheduling an appointment can call 211 or contact one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging or AARP. Nearly 70 libraries around the state also are helping Hoosiers schedule their appointments.

Vaccination clinics that are part of the federal vaccine program, including those at Walmart, Sams Club and Kroger, appear on the clinic map at https://ourshot.in.gov but are scheduled through those retailers’ platforms, not through the state centralized system.

Also on Monday, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb is directing flags across the state to be flown at half-staff in memory of the more than 500,000 Americans who have died from COVID-19, according to press secretary Rachel Hoffmeyer.

Per President Joe Biden’s proclamation, flags should be flown at half-staff from now until sunset Friday, Feb. 26.

“Gov. Holcomb also asks businesses and residents to lower their flags to half-staff,” said Hoffmeyer.

Local figures

On Saturday, the ISDH reported three new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 3,274, with 13,930 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 2.4 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 12.9 percent.

On Sunday, the ISDH reported two new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 3,276, with 13,970 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 2.1 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 11.2 percent.

On Monday, the ISDH reported nine new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 3,285, with 13,983 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 2.5 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 12.1 percent.

On Tuesday, the ISDH reported two new local positive COVID-19 cases, bringing Wabash County’s total to 3,287, with 13,992 tests. The local seven-day positivity rating for all tests was 2.2 percent. The local seven-day positivity rating for unique individuals was 10.3 percent.

Statewide figures

On Tuesday, the ISDH reported that 716 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at state and private laboratories. That brings to 657,037 the number of Indiana residents now known to have had the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous day’s dashboard.

A total of 12,025 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 44 from the previous day. Another 425 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record.

To date, 3,088,729 unique individuals have been tested in Indiana, up from 3,085,554on Monday. A total of 7,815,751 tests, including repeat tests for unique individuals, have been reported to the state Department of Health since Feb. 26, 2020.

To find testing sites around the state, visit www.coronavirus.in.gov and click on the COVID-19 testing information link.

Rob Burgess, Wabash Plain Dealer editor, may be reached by email at rburgess@wabashplain

dealer.com.