Indiana begins vaccine rollout to public

AP/fileShot: In this Jan. 5 photo, a healthcare worker receives a Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine shot in Southfield, Michigan. Indiana has begun its public out of vaccinations. 

More than 53,000 Hoosiers age 80 or older scheduled appointments to receive free COVID-19 vaccines as of 4 p.m. Friday, the first day of eligibility for this age group.

Registration for free COVID-19 vaccinations is now open to Hoosiers age 80 and older who register online at ourshot.in.gov. Those in west central Indiana needing assistance to sign up can call the Area 7 Agency on Aging and Disabled at 812-238-1561 or at 800-489-1561.

The appointment times were quickly filling up soon after the website opened. The earliest available appointment by late afternoon Friday was Wednesday, Jan. 20 in Vigo County.

Clay, Sullivan and Parke counties also saw available appointments that begin next week fill quickly.

Vaccinations in Vigo County will be available in the council chambers of the county Annex Building, the county health department reported.

Individuals must have identification with proof of age. Those without ID or who are not in the eligible vaccination group will not receive the vaccine.

Vaccination clinic locations and appointment times are available online, or by calling 211. A caregiver or loved one can make an appointment on behalf of an eligible senior citizen.

Parking at the Annex is available in the north parking lot.

Union Hospital is a designated age-group distribution site, but Terre Haute Regional Hospital is not designated for the age-group distribution.

Vaccinations so far

The state’s COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard reported 2,075 people in Vigo County have already received their first dose of a coronavirus vaccine as of Friday. Only two people had received both doses to be fully vaccinated.

In Clay County, 475 people had received their first shots. In Sullivan County, 292 had received the first dose, while Vermillion County reported 173 and Parke County reported 124.

Meanwhile, high interest in the COVID-19 vaccines caused slowdowns to the state’s vaccine registration site and 211 system, but both systems were working.

Hoosiers age 80 and older who are now eligible were encouraged to continue to check the sites throughout the day.

The vaccine registration site is designed to put visitors into a holding queue when volume is high. That can contribute to longer wait times or an error message, but Hoosiers should be able to check back at a later time to access the system.

“We are gratified by the high interest in vaccine registration for our most vulnerable Hoosiers and encourage everyone to be patient,” said Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box. “We anticipated these scenarios on the first day and have a system in place to address them as quickly as possible.”

Individuals age 80 and older account for less than 4 percent of the state’s population but represent more than 19 percent of the hospitalizations and more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in the state, according to Indiana State Department of Health.

Individuals who are having difficulty registering online can also call one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging for help with registration.

At least one vaccine clinic will be located in each Indiana county. Vaccines are free, but insurance may be charged an administrative fee.

Appointments for the second dose will be made at the clinic when the first dose is administered.

Additional groups, such as those based on underlying health conditions, will be added as vaccine becomes available. Updates will be posted at https://ourshot.in.gov.

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Lisa Trigg has been a reporter at the Tribune-Star since 2009. With more than 30 years of newspaper experience, she now covers general news with a focus on crime and courts.

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