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National Guard delivers help and hope to senior citizens needing vaccinations

More than a quarter million Hoosiers 70 and older are registered to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

FISHERS, Ind. — More than a quarter million Hoosiers 70 and older are registered to receive COVID-19 vaccinations. Most of those are in their 70s. They signed up as soon as they became eligible Wednesday.

But for many senior citizens, the vaccinations may seem out of reach. 13News found the state is trying to reach out to those very people.

National Guard soldiers are being used to bring syringes full of relief and hope to senior citizens who might have had a hard time getting vaccinations on their own.

"I think it's wonderful," said Ann Westfall. "The National Guard is here to help us. It's going so smoothly. It's wonderful."

The state has a number of mobile response units operating across Indiana.

The independent living facility wasn't even aware of the mobile clinics until it got a call Tuesday night from the Indiana State Department of Health saying it would be there Thursday morning.

Credit: WTHR
A member of the Indiana National Guard giving a shot of COVID-19 vaccine to a woman.

RELATED: Hoosiers over 70 now eligible for COVID-19 vaccine, thousands sign up for shots

The staff of The Reserve at Hamilton Trace had just 36 hours to prepare and sign up residents.

"Pick me. Pick me," said Jim North, the executive director of the senior living facility. "Everyone has wanted to reserve the vaccine. We've got 99 percent participation, which I am thrilled with."

Sandra Kooistra was eager to get vaccinated.

"So I don't get the virus and I have a family, I don't want to give it to," she said.

Because they live independently, the senior citizens didn't qualify to receive vaccinations designated for nursing home residents.

But many no longer drive or they depend on walkers and may not be able to navigate the vaccination sign up process.

Credit: WTHR
The Indiana National Guard giving residents at The Reserve at Hamilton Trace in Fishers the COVID-19 vaccine.

Getting vaccinated in their home protects residents and provides some relief to a facility that has labored to prevent an outbreak of the deadly virus.

"This is the first real step for us to get them closer to their families to keep them healthy, help end this pandemic."

A pandemic that can't end soon enough.

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