INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With a million more Hoosiers newly eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine, long wait times for appointments are happening at some locations.
At a few sites, there’s no availability at all.
The statewide portal feels like changes minute by minute as time slots get taken and new ones are released.
“It was a little bit tricky on the interface,” said Paul Cook, who got his vaccine shot Wednesday.
He went almost 20 miles from home to get a spot sooner.
“I could have waited until the end of April to have gotten it one-half mile from where I live, but I didn’t want to wait that long,” Cook said.
News 8 checked several different ZIP codes in the statewide portal.
There are 16 locations within a 10-mile radius. At the top was the mass vaccination site at the Speedway. The first available appointment there: April 25.
Other sites’ next appointments available were much later; those included IU Health’s Neuroscience Building in downtown Indianapolis: May 4.
The clinic at Adult & Child Health on Southern Avenue was among several with no availability.
Even while researching, two locations disappeared, likely from a lack of available appointments.
In Fishers, the city health department has appointments available Tuesday, but some nearby vaccination sites including the Walmart on Pendleton Pike were not available until May 18.
Using the ZIP code for Franklin, 46131, there were two locations within 10 miles. The IMS site is again at the top of the page. While there were a couple of spots at Compass Park on Tuesday, the scheduling really opened up starting April 12.
Betsy Swearingen, director of the Johnson County Health Department, said lots of people in different age groups are signing up. “That’s very promising and refreshing. We’re happy.”
She said the scheduling platform is doing a much better job than it used to. “The wait times were crazy, and it was not very user-friendly, but it’s really been improved.”
She says one important factor is the IMS site, which can vaccinate more than 6,000 people in a day compared to the 1,400 per week her department is hoping for. Plus, at her department, after the first shot, recipients have to come back three weeks later.
“They’re very important,” Swearingen said. “They help release some stress off the local entities who don’t have the staffing and the hours to be able to get the vaccines out to people.”
For Kathy Potter, who got her vaccine several weeks ago, signing up wasn’t difficult. “It was the easiest. It was great.”
It’s given her new-found freedom. “We’re still wearing masks and we’re still being careful,” Potter said. “But it still is this freedom finally of what might get back to semi-normal. It’s wonderful.”
For Cook, just one day after the 20-minute drive to his first shot, it was worth every minute.
“Go online. Set aside 20 minutes. Make sure you find a place. Above all else, make sure you do get vaccinated,” he said.
If you’re having trouble signing up, give 211 a call.