The Allen County Department of Health has begun administering COVID-19 vaccinations at a temporary clinic at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne. The clinic opened Jan. 13.

Individuals 80 years or older and licensed and unlicensed health care workers and first responders are eligible for the vaccine.

The coliseum has set aside Expo IV hall, which is is equipped to hold large numbers of people and at the same time adhere to social distancing in a safe environment.

Dr. Matthew Sutter, Allen County health commissioner, explained during a news conference Jan. 12 that the need for the vaccine is far greater than the supply, and the more people who get the vaccination the quicker we can begin to eradicate the virus. Sutter also extended local health restrictions that had been set to expire that night.

Anyone who has face-to-face interactions with patients or infectious material is also eligible. Strict guidelines will be followed before and during the vaccinations. Only persons who qualify and have set an appointment in advance will receive the vaccinations.

There is no charge for coliseum parking for guests with vaccination appointments.

“We know the COVID-19 vaccine is tremendously effective at keeping people out of the hospital and preventing severe disease,” Sutter said. “We encourage every eligible person to make an appointment as soon as possible. Our goal is to get everyone who wants a shot, a shot!”

The Allen County Department of Health is providing the Moderna vaccine, which requires two doses administered at least 28 days apart. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after the second vaccination. Individuals receiving the first vaccine will make their second appointment before leaving the coliseum.

Sutter emphasized that continuing safe practices is essential now, and in the future, and even people who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 may still infect others and should continue to wear a mask.

To check eligibility to receive the vaccination, visit ourshot.in.gov, or call 211 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. No walk-ins will be accepted. Family members can make appointments on behalf of eligible seniors.

A family member or caregiver can accompany to the coliseum a senior who is receiving the vaccination. Anyone entering the vaccination site will be required to wear a mask and bring a photo ID, proof of age, or verification of current employment as a health care worker or first responder in Indiana. The vaccinations are free; however insurance may be charged an administrative fee.

Sutter renewed a list of restrictions through Jan. 31 due to the continued widespread transmission of COVID-19 in the county.

“As we expect Allen County to again shift to the state’s red category this week, we believe ongoing limits are needed in spaces where spread is more likely,” Sutter said. View the full order at www.allencountyhealth.com/covid-19.

Red status is given to counties with 200 or more COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and a seven-day positivity rate of 15%. A county’s status is updated each Wednesday.

The order mirrors limits on social gatherings and events laid out in Gov. Eric Holcomb’s latest order. It also continues capacity limits in restaurants, bars and fitness centers. His order is effective through Jan. 24, unless extended.

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