TIME FOR A BOOST: 261 turn out on first day of CRH vaccination clinic

A total of 261 people turned out to get booster shots or start or continue the process of getting vaccinated against COVID-19 during the first day that Columbus Regional Health reopened its standalone vaccine clinic.

On Tuesday, 191 people who had scheduled appointments received the vaccine at the clinic, located at 1702 Keller Ave., said CRH spokeswoman Kelsey DeClue. An additional 70 people walked in without an appointment.

Most of the people who showed up Tuesday were there to get booster shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

Currently, CRH officials expect demand for boosters to remain high for now as more and more people cross the six-month threshold for eligibility. All 191 appointment slots for Thursday were fully booked.

About 16,300 Bartholomew County residents had been fully vaccinated with the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine as of six months ago, according to the Indiana Department of Health. However, it is unclear how many of those people got the Pfizer vaccine.

As many as 17,700 additional Bartholomew County residents could become eligible for the boosters by the end of November.

“We know we’re going to have a continual increase in people who are eligible that are meeting that six month (requirement),” DeClue said. “…We do expect to see appointments to continue to trickle in.”

The reopening of the clinic came about two weeks after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that people ages 65 years and older, residents in long-term care settings and people ages 50 to 64 with certain underlying medical conditions get a booster shot at least six months after they got their second dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

The CDC also said the following people can get a Pfizer booster shot after considering “their individual benefits and risks”:

People ages 18 to 49 with certain underlying medical conditions who got their second Pfizer shot at least six months ago

People ages 18 to 64 who got their second Pfizer shot at least six months ago and may be at an increased risk for COVID-19 exposure and transmission due to their job or institutional setting, including prison inmates and those living in homeless shelters

The guidance, however, only applies to people who received two doses of the Pfizer vaccine at least six months ago. It does not include those who received the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Last month, CRH announced that it would reopen the standalone vaccine clinic, in large part, in anticipation of increased demand for booster shots.

Currently, the clinic is open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Walk-in hours have been set for 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the same days, but CRH officials prefer that people schedule appointments online at ourshot.in.gov.

However, the clinic will be closed next week due to the fall break.

People who have not been vaccinated at all can also get their initial doses at the clinic, CRH officials said.

At least 41,430 doses of vaccines were administered at the clinic — enough to fully vaccinate 20,715 people — from mid-December to late July, CRH officials said previously.

The clinic closed its doors at the end of July as demand for vaccines declined and vaccination efforts were shifted to doctor’s offices.