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Hamilton County addresses areas with low vaccination rates

A pop-up vaccination clinic is scheduled for Sheridan High School to hopefully reach rural residents who want the vaccine.

HAMILTON COUNTY, Ind. — With the delta variant spreading, health officials say it's more important now than ever to get vaccinated against COVID-19. 

That's even in places where the overall vaccination rate is high, such as Hamilton County, where restrictions and mask requirements were lifted a few months ago.

"We've not see any major increase in daily rates of COVID or anything like that, so I think we're doing really well," said Chris Walker with the Hamilton County Health Department.

In fact, Walker noted Hamilton County has the highest percentage of residents fully vaccinated in Indiana at just shy of 69%. 

But he also pointed out sharp disparities based on zip code with State Road 32 — the clear dividing line. He said those who live south of the road have the highest vaccination rates. One zip code in Westfield is at 90% vaccinated.

But north of SR 32 is a different story. Data shows Atlanta has the lowest vaccination rate at 39%, followed by Sheridan at 45% and Arcadia at 46%. All are primarily rural areas.

"One thing we have to look at is where the vaccine clinics are," Walker said. 

RELATED: Indiana coronavirus updates: FDA to attach warning to Johnson & Johnson vaccine after rare Guillain-Barré cases

While Hamilton County has 50 clinics, Walker said just two are north of SR 32.

That's why the health department is opening a pop-up clinic at Sheridan High School Tuesday. It comes amid growing concerns about the COVID-19 variants and continuing resistance among some to get vaccinated.

"We are seeing the delta variant is much more contagious," Walker said. "So we're really encouraging those not vaccinated yet to have that discussion with their primary care provider if they need to and determine what's right for them and hopefully get vaccinated."

Denise Evans is among those not about to be swayed.

"Yes, I'm opposed to getting a shot because I don't trust new and experimental drugs," Evans said. "I would rather have COVID-19 versus reactions from the shot."

RELATED: Pfizer is set to discuss COVID-19 vaccine booster with US officials

But Atlanta resident Nick Lynch said he had no qualms about getting vaccinated.

"I didn't want to get sick or get my grandkids or nobody else sick," Lynch said. "I just wish people would get and get it over with and let's get moving."

There is no registration for the Sheridan clinic. Walk-ins are welcome and encouraged. The Pfizer vaccine will be administered, which requires two doses. The clinic will be open during the following dates and times:

  • Tuesday, July 13 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 15 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 17 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Tuesday, July 20 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Thursday, July 22 from 4 p.m. – 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, July 24 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Second doses will be scheduled at Sheridan High School the weeks of Aug. 3 and Aug. 10.