Health department holds first mass vaccination clinic


GREENFIELD — The gym at Greenfield-Central High School was transformed into a health clinic on the morning of Saturday, April 10. The Hancock County Health Department held its first mass vaccination event, with the high school opening its doors for the public to receive the Moderna vaccinations against COVID-19.

Volunteers and health department personnel gave out the vaccines. The event was open to the public; those wanting to get vaccinated were able to register ahead of time, but walk-in appointments were also made available when it became apparent the shot-givers would not be overwhelmed.

Up to 1,200 doses of the vaccine were available. Crystal Baker, office manager and preparedness coordinator for the Hancock County Health Department, said fewer than 70 people signed up ahead of time for the event, but doses were refrigerated continuously and could be used later on if they were not administered at the event.

The number of walk-in patients was not immediately available.

The vaccine doses were provided by the Indiana State Department of Health, and the high school agreed to serve as a host. Volunteers came from a number of organizations; some signed up individually, while others came as part of a group from the local Rotary Club.

Trainee emergency medical technicians from the Mt. Vernon Township Fire Department also gave out vaccines at the event. As part of their training, they have been vaccinating homebound residents for COVID-19 as well.

Linda Garrity, a nurse who volunteered at the event, said she was pleased to see an increasing number of people in the county are getting the vaccine, especially younger people. Though young people in good health may feel they are not at risk from COVID-19, she said, it is important for as many people as possible to get the shot and increase the community’s level of herd immunity.

“If not for yourself, do it for your neighbors and the people around you who are more vulnerable,” Garrity said.

People who were vaccinated remained in the school’s gym for 15 minutes and were monitored for any side effects of the vaccine, with volunteers checking vital signs like their pulse and respiration before sending them home.

Patients said they were excited for a number of things about post-vaccination life: visiting with family and friends, dining in at restaurants, and simply being able to eventually venture into public places without wearing a mask.

Indiana has opened vaccine eligibility to all residents ages 16 and up, although 16- and 17-year-olds are eligible only for the Pfizer vaccine, as it is the only one to have completed clinical trials in teenagers. Adults of any age can receive any vaccine.

To sign up for a COVID-19 vaccine, which is free with or without insurance, visit vaccine.coronavirus.in.gov.

According to the state health department’s COVID-19 dashboard, 20,994 county residents have been fully vaccinated against the virus, receiving either two doses of a vaccine or one dose of the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. An additional 29,445 have received their first dose.

Those who received their first dose of the vaccine at the event were registered to receive a second shot at the same location on May 8, following Moderna’s four-week window between doses.

Those interested in serving as a volunteer at a future vaccination event — with or without medical training — should contact the county health department at 317-477-1125.

By the numbers

Hancock County

Total fully vaccinated individuals: 20,994

First doses administered: 29,445

Second doses administered: 19,495

Single-dose vaccines administered: 1,499

Indiana

Total fully vaccinated individuals: 1,410,070

First doses administered: 1,993,880

Second doses administered: 1,284,420

Single-dose vaccines administered: 125,650

Source: Indiana State Department of Health



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