INDIANAPOLIS — High interest in COVID-19 vaccines has caused slowdowns to Indiana’s vaccine registration site and 211 system, but both are working, and officials urge residents to be patient.
State residents 80 and older are now eligible to receive the vaccine, including La Porte County residents, who can be vaccinated at the Community Building at the La Porte County Fairgrounds or Franciscan Health Michigan City.
Appointments are necessary and must be made online or by phone; no walk-ins will be accepted at either site.
Interest in the vaccine was high on the first day for seniors Friday. A total of 53,000 Hoosiers 80 or older registered for vaccines by 3 p.m. Friday, the first day of eligibility, according to ISDH.
Among those registering, 21,000 people scheduled appointments in the first 90 minutes after registration opened.
“We are gratified by high interest in vaccine registration for our most vulnerable Hoosiers and encourage everyone to be patient,” state Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said, acknowledging that some people may experience delays while registering.
“We anticipated these scenarios on the first day and have a system in place to address them as quickly as possible.”
Anyone experiencing issues with the vaccine registration site are urged to continue to check it throughout the day.
The site, https://ourshot.in.gov, is designed to put visitors into a holding queue when volume is high, according to the Indiana State Department of Health.
That can contribute to longer wait times or an error message, but Hoosiers should be able to check back at a later time to access the system.
Franciscan Health hospitals in Michigan City, Crown Point and Hammond are among the sites in Northwest Indiana that will provide the vaccine.
A scheduled appointment is required in advance, and those scheduling a vaccination should also complete the registration process when scheduling. There is no charge but insurance information will be requested, a statement from Franciscan Health said.
Along with the 80-plus age group, Franciscan provides the vaccine to frontline healthcare workers and first responders who are eligible.
The current vaccines being offered, from Pfizer BioNTech and Moderna, require two doses. Once patients receive their first vaccination, they can make an appointment for their second dose in three weeks for Pfizer BioNTech and four weeks for Moderna.
Due to limited supply, patients are not able to choose which vaccine they will receive, the statement from Franciscan said.
Individuals who are having difficulty registering online can also call one of the Area Agencies on Aging for help with registration. A caregiver or loved one may also make an appointment on behalf of an eligible senior.
Those 80 and older account for less than 4 percent of the state’s population, but represent more than 19 percent of the hospitalizations and more than half of the COVID-19 deaths, according to ISDH.
Additional groups, such as those based on underlying health conditions, will be added as vaccine becomes available. Updates will be posted at https://ourshot.in.gov.
Even as the vaccination program ramps up, more and more Hoosiers are contracting and dying from the virus.
On Friday, ISDH reported 6,199 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19, bringing the total to 552,594. Another 69 deaths were reported, raising the toll to 8,521 confirmed and 371 probable deaths.
In La Porte County, another 151 cases and 3 more deaths were reported, raising the totals to 8,156 infected and 148 dead, according to ISDH. The 7-day positivity rate for all tests was 17.9 percent, and the rate for unique individuals tested was 25.4 percent.