Hoosiers newly eligible to sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine will likely face a wide variation in wait times for getting immunized, officials said Monday.
Those ages 30 and older became eligible to sign up for appointments Monday. As of Wednesday, ages 16 and older will become eligible.
Megan Hubartt, Allen County Department of Health spokeswoman, said the department's mass vaccination site at Memorial Coliseum has no open appointments until mid-May.
But, she said, she's also heard of cases where vaccinations are being scheduled with much shorter wait times.
That includes one person who on Monday got an appointment for today at a Kroger pharmacy in Huntington, she said.
“We encourage everybody to shop around and ... research sites outside the county” for earlier appointments if they are willing or able to drive, Hubartt said.
Last week, county health officials were planning to almost double the number of vaccines given at Memorial Coliseum to 900 a day by the end of April. The change came after the eligibility age was dropped to 40 and school employees were added.
Tami Brigle, Parkview Health spokeswoman, said the vaccination site at the Mirro Center for Research and Innovation is increasing its capacity to 1,300 appointments a day.
“At this time, our clinic has appointments open as early as April 4, but availability will vary as new appointments are added to the schedule,” she said.
The Mirro Center, which offers the two-shot Pfizer vaccine, has administered 77,266 shots, fully immunizing more than 32,000 people.
Fort Wayne Community Schools will offer vaccinations to those 16 and older beginning April 13 in clinics at all high schools.
The clinics are in conjunction with Meijer pharmacies, and participation is voluntary, said Krista Stockman, district spokeswoman.
Permission forms available through the FWCS website must be completed by parents and returned to children's schools by Thursday, she said. Check fwschools.org for forms and information.
Monday's eligibility expansion will allow 840,000 more Hoosiers to schedule appointments. The state health department did not provide a number for those ages 16 to 29.
The two-shot Pfizer vaccine is the only one approved for those as young as 16. You must be 18 to get the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines, based on how those companies structured their drug trials, according to the federal Food and Drug Administration.
The Indiana Health Department Monday reported 1,088,141 people statewide are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Almost 2.7 million doses of vaccine have been administered.
Allen County reported 53,322 fully vaccinated people, trailing only Marion, Hamilton and Lake counties.
New confirmed coronavirus cases in Allen County stood at 65 Monday, with no new deaths. Total confirmed Allen cases are 37,644 and total deaths 658.
Indiana reported 750 more confirmed cases Monday and five new deaths, bringing the statewide totals to 684,733 cases and 12,622 confirmed deaths, plus 406 deaths based on symptoms without a positive test on record.
Vaccination appointment age requirements were loosened by Gov. Eric Holcomb based on word from the federal government that the state should expect a big boost in vaccine supplies beginning this week.
Appointments may be made through ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. Clinics at Meijer, Kroger, CVS and other retail sites appear on the state's website, but those seeking appointments should follow information for each retailer. The website lists 29 sites in Allen County.
Source: Indiana Department of Health