There is a map buried inside the Indiana State Department of Health website that shows where people in Daviess County have been or are in the process of being vaccinated against COVID-19.
The map has a line that runs north and south from the Greene County to the Pike County line. Those on the west side are in the yellow area, indicating there are significant numbers of people who have either been vaccinated or are in the process. The east side of that line is red, meaning very few people are seeking the vaccinations.
“It looks weird,” said Daviess County Public Health Nurse Kathy Sullender. “In Daviess County it looks like we have either all people trying to get vaccinated or no people. There aren’t even any splotches.”
For the most part, almost all of the area in red is in the Amish community. That appears to be because there is little demand for vaccines in that area.
“The COVID-19 went through the community last year,” said spokesman for the Daviess County Amish community Mark Raber. “Most folks say they have already had it and don’t see any reason for getting a vaccination.”
Daviess County’s Health Department began offering vaccinations right after the first of the year. With the exception of a three-day off-site clinic operated by the state on Washington’s west side, and some offered by area pharmacies, most of the vaccinations have been done either at nursing homes or at the health department office.
“We have used our home-bound program to reach out to a few people in the Amish community,” said Sullender. “We have had a few come to the health department and get shots. We have not done any widespread vaccination clinics in that area.”
Sullender says the reasons are in part due to demand and in part due to the vaccine limitations.
“When we get a vial of vaccine it holds 10 doses,” said Sullender. “We don’t want to waste any doses, so we have to make certain that once we open a vial that there will be enough people show up that we can use it.”
So far there has been no large call for vaccinations in the Amish area.
“We have the coolers, the people and the equipment to make it happen,” said Sullender. “We met with the Amish health committee right after the vaccine arrived. They have told us the people are holding back because they want to see how it works and what kind of side effects it produces.”
Like much of the rest of Daviess County, the Amish community is trying to make its way back to a pre-pandemic normal.
“We had no church services for a while,” said Raber. “Now the churches are back in session and operating as normal. We have no one in the hospital that I know of and that’s a blessing.”
Sullender says the health department is more than willing to conduct a clinic in the area.
“We have been working with businesses and groups to provide vaccinations,” she said. “We are more than willing to go out to the Amish community and do vaccinations if they want them.”
“I don’t think anyone would gain anything if they were to do something out in the community,” added Raber.