COVID-19

Vaccine site hours to expand

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The Montgomery County Health Department will expand the hours of the county’s COVID-19 vaccination site due to an increase in vaccine allotment, administrator Amber Reed said Friday.

The county expects to receive 1,500 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week, up from the usual shipment of 1,000 doses, Reed told the Journal Review following a meeting with Montgomery County Commissioner Jim Fulwider.

That’s 300 additional doses than requested as the department opens more slots at the clinic in the former Save-A-Lot store on South Boulevard, which is currently booked up.

“The good side is, we’re getting more vaccine,” Reed said. “The downside is, we’ve got to figure out how… to trade off services to get that out to people.”

The site will begin opening on Fridays to accommodate the extra doses. Officials don’t know whether the increased allotment will remain consistent, Reed said.

County officials are considering asking National Guard medics to assist health department employees with the additional clinic hours. National Guard personnel have been working the testing site at the health department’s offices on West Market Street.

The department is seeking qualified individuals to administer the shots. Those interested are asked to email Samantha Cravens at samantha.cravens@montgomerycounty.in.gov or call 765-361-4130.

Individuals age 40 and older are currently eligible for a vaccine, as are healthcare workers, long-term care residents, first responders and educators up to grade 12. Other school workers such as classroom aides, bus drivers and cafeteria workers are also eligible.

Eligibility will expand to everyone age 16 and up on Wednesday. Pfizer is only the vaccine authorized for those under 18 and the county’s vaccine site currently does not offer it.

Discussions are continuing over the county’s plans after April 6, when the statewide mask order changes to an advisory.

While face coverings will remain mandatory in schools and state buildings and at coronavirus vaccination and testing sites, local governments will be able to set their own rules.

Local officials say daily case data and other metrics drives decisions about coronavirus measures.

“It makes a lot of sense to move things to the local level, in some respects, because our county is doing different things or our numbers might be different… than another county, so a blanket rule isn’t always optimal for the community,” Reed said.

Reed said the department will continue recommending best practices such as wearing a mask, hand washing and social distancing.

In Crawfordsville, Mayor Todd Barton said city officials will continue to meet with the county health officer and health department.

“If we stay on the path we’re on, I don’t see any changes,” Barton said. “If we start to see issues, we’ll deal with those specifically.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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