Indiana teachers can get vaccinated, but options are limited for now

Posted at 12:47 AM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 00:47:23-05

Indiana's vaccine distribution is based on age. However, after weeks of pushing for eligibility, teachers can now sign-up for shots through a federal program at three different retailers: Kroger, Meijer, and Walmart.

Many teachers, like Erin Charpentier, were cautiously optimistic because of the months spent pushing the state to open eligibility for them.

"I wanted to see if the federal program could supersede the state health department's decision," Charpentier said. "After looking into it and reading more about the federal program I was like 'what do I have to do to get this vaccine?!'"

Charpentier wants the vaccine for a lot of reasons. Two of the biggest? She and her husband have been teaching in-person since August. She's not been able to see her parents since last March.

"At this point, we're all tired and we're all feeling like a lot of people are," Charpentier said. "Where's the light at the end of the tunnel?"

Making an appointment, however, wasn't as easy as she had hoped.

"We don't actually have any Kroger and I know that's one of the bigger sites. Walmart doesn't appear to have anything. Meijer seems to acknowledge they'll be vaccinating teachers but they'll call when the clinic is open," Charpentier said.

As of this article being published, Kroger is the best bet for teachers in Indiana who want to sign up as soon as possible.

After you answer the initial questions, you're able to put in your occupation and then, you'll see you qualify. From there, you put in your city or zip code. The closest locations to you with appointment times will pop up.

For Charpentier, that means driving nearly two hours from Hebron, Indiana to a Kroger location in Elkhart. The appointments there for her and her husband are a little more convenient than the ones she initially had in Indianapolis.

Charpentier knows she's lucky despite having to drive several hours for the shot. She hopes government at all levels will work to make sure there's equal access to the vaccine as more people become eligible.

"I have the privilege to drive an hour and 40 minutes to get a vaccine, to take off work," Charpentier said. "I know there are so many teachers in this state who don't. They aren't able to take a day off work or have child-care to drive four hours round-trip to get a vaccine."