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Indiana opens COVID-19 vaccine to 65 and older

The vaccine requires two doses and the appointment for the second dose will be made at the clinic when the first dose is administered.

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Department of Health received an overwhelming response to the decision to make COVID-19 vaccinations available to those 65 and older.

The department said 96,000 Hoosiers age 65 to 69 had signed up for a vaccination appointment by 5 p.m. Monday, they first day they were eligible to register. In all, 103,000 Hoosiers who are eligible to receive the vaccine signed up for an appointment on Monday.

The vaccine is available at no cost, and appointments can be made by clicking here. Hoosiers who do not have access to a computer or cell phone or who need assistance with registration can call 211 or contact one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging for assistance. A caregiver or loved one can make an appointment on behalf of an eligible senior.

Meijer, Kroger and Walmart have started offering the vaccine at select stores around the state. Meijer and Kroger will use their own sign-up systems. Walmart will use the state system through ourshot.in.gov and by calling 211.

The vaccine requires two doses and the appointment for the second dose will be made at the clinic when the first dose is administered.

Hoosiers age 60 and older comprise 22.5 percent of the population but account for 64.1 percent of hospitalizations and 93.3 percent of COVID-19 deaths. Additional groups will be added as more vaccine becomes available.

“As soon as they open it up to my age group, I’m going to be signing up and hopefully getting one of the first appointments,” said Decatur County, Indiana resident Vicki Schrader said last week, as the 68-year-old waited for a vaccination. Four days later, she learned the state was now taking appointments for people in her age group. 

“I was able to log in and get an appointment right away for tomorrow,” Schrader said Monday.

“It’s just terrific to know I get the shot tomorrow. I have a booster within 21 days and after that, they say a few weeks and your immunity is built up,” she said.

Schrader is getting her shot at the health department in Decatur County.  

Since the state began offering the vaccine in late December, more than 1.3 million first- and second-dose appointments have been scheduled. Joe Mansfield and his wife, both in their 60s, hoped to grab two of those appointments near their Indianapolis home, but no luck. 

“We would have had to wait five weeks just to get the first shot,” Mansfield said. 

Instead, the Mansfields found appointments sooner at the clinic in Noblesville. 

Hamilton County's allotment of vaccine jumped from 800 to 1,200 to a promised 1,600 weekly doses before the end of the month.

The Noblesville clinic has a lot of space to grow and, if more vaccine becomes available, organizers can see it growing into a large-scale operation, maybe even being able to quadruple the number of people now getting vaccinated. 

“I’ll be able to see my sister again and my brother and my friend,” said Schrader, who turns 69 in two weeks, of the light she sees at the end of the tunnel. She said she had been willing to go anywhere in the state to get the vaccine as soon as possible. It turns out she won't have to, and that’s just fine by her. She's got things to do.

“69 isn’t ancient anymore. We’re active and social and it’s just a relief to be able to know that we’ll be able to get together again and share a meal and not be in fear,” she said. 

Follow these steps to register online:

  • Go to ourshot.in.gov.
  • Click on the link in the red box near the top of the page that says "Click here to find a vaccination site."
  • Select the county you live in.
  • Select a vaccine clinic available in your county.
  • Select the blue link that says "Click here to register."
  • Select the group you belong to and enter your date of birth.
  • Certify that you are within the group selected.
  • Click "Schedule an appointment."

To find a vaccination site in the county where you live, click here.