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Health leaders say COVID-19 vaccination rates slowing down

Many vaccine clinics are switching to a walk-in model
COVID shots
Posted at 5:36 PM, Apr 23, 2021

INDIANAPOLIS — Vaccination rates are starting to slow down across the county and here in central Indiana.

A new two-day weekend clinic at Lucas Oil Stadium has now opened to walk-ins after appointments weren’t filling up as quickly as anticipated.

"It looks like the vaccinations are slowing down a little bit, particularly in the last couple of weeks," Dr. Paul Calkins, associate chief medical executive at IU Health, said. "We don't seem to be doing quite as many vaccinations as we were. There are a lot of appointments available right now.”

He said that could be due to several things.

"We are probably reaching a point where the early adopters are all in the process, and now we have to go to people who are a little less excited to go first,” said Calkins about people signing up for their first dose.

He says it has become increasingly difficult after the use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused for an extremely rare side effect of blood clots.

"I did just hear on the CDC call that the number, the rate of vaccination has fallen about 30% since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was paused," Calkins said. "It's hard to imagine that that kind of change is a coincidence.”

Calkins said even though that vaccine is completely different from Pfizer and Moderna, the pause has made skeptics even more hesitant to roll up their sleeves.

Health leaders say if vaccination rates don’t pick back up recovery from the pandemic could be slow.

“I have to admit I don't see a way out of masking or restrictions or maybe more waves in the winter if we don't get the high-level vaccination," Calkins said. "People that decide not to put their arms out are putting themselves at risk and probably the community too, so somehow we are just going to have to get over this and convince people that this is the right thing to do.”

If you haven’t gotten your shot yet, you can attend the clinic at Lucas Oil Stadium this Saturday. It runs from 8:30 a.m. -5:30 p.m. and you do not need an appointment.