The Montgomery County Health Department received final approval Thursday to open a COVID-19 vaccination site in the former Save A Lot building.
In a special virtual meeting, the Health Board approved a three-month lease agreement with Niemann Foods for the vacant building, where vaccines will be administered in the next phase of the nationwide vaccine drive.
Under the agreement, the health department will use the building rent-free and pay the utilities, which currently run about $3,000 a month, health department administrator Amber Reed said.
The health department received $42,000 from the state to set up a community vaccination site, and CARES Act funding is also available to cover the costs.
The agreement includes a provision requiring the health department to vacate if someone is interested in purchasing the building before the lease expires.
“I can’t imagine anybody in the next month or two wanting to do anything [with the building],” Reed said.
Board president Nancy Sennett said the property was a perfect site. The health department does not yet know how much vaccine the county will receive.
Local long-term care residents began getting vaccinated this week, Reed said. Area healthcare workers have been receiving shots at hospitals in Lafayette and Lebanon or at a Hendricks Regional Health site at the Hendricks County Fairgrounds.
Those who’ve gotten the shot say it’s a smooth process.
“I just know the huge issue is, you can’t get in [for an appointment],” said board member Jamie Barton, a nurse practitioner.
Board member Dr. Mary Glass, who plans to be vaccinated next week, said she booked her appointment before Christmas.
As of noon Wednesday, 144 Montgomery County residents have received their first dose of the vaccine, according to the state’s new COVID-19 vaccination dashboard. Nearly 76,000 doses had been administered statewide.
The state health department will determine the next priority groups based on recommendations from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Depending on supplies, health officials say the vaccine could become available to the general public in the spring or summer.