GREENCASTLE — The effort to vaccinate Hoosiers continues to grow. All day Friday, vaccines are being given out on the campus of DePauw University.
“We were always kind of wondering for the past couple months if it was going to happen on campus or we were gonna have to go somewhere else,” Andrew Athenson, who received his vaccine, said. “We got an email maybe a week ago saying this was happening and it came so quick.”
In partnership with the Putnam County Health Department and Hendricks Regional Health, they’re vaccinating nearly 1,900 people in one day.
“Over 1,800 appointments opened up and within eight hours they were full,” Sara Burnett, a nurse with the Putnam County Health Department, said. “So that tells me that Hoosiers are still waiting to get vaccinated.”
The health department said they haven’t seen as much resistance to the vaccine, as reported in other rural areas across the country.
“We have not seen that at all,” Brian Williams, Putnam County Health Department preparedness coordinator, said. “Our appointments have consistently remained booked for two to three and sometimes even four weeks out in advance. People are excited about this vaccine. They know it’s a safe vaccine.”
“In Putnam County, I think we’ve had a great force in the very beginning of folks that wanted it,” Burnett said. “We’ve seen the numbers for Putnam County kind of stagger off a little bit. I don’t know if that’s because appointments are being filled by people from out of county and they can’t get in.”
The 100 volunteers and healthcare workers helping out at the clinic are administering the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“We are tired,” Burnett said. “We’ve worked hard for a year. I know the public is tired of COVID, everyone’s tired of COVID. But this is the way that we’re going to be able to beat it right now is by herd immunity by vaccinating.”
“The way I think about it is the more people that are vaccinated the quicker this country, me speaking from just being on campus, the sooner my campus can open back up and can kind of get back to what semi normal life will look like,” Emma St. John, who also received the vaccine, said. “Yeah you may have a few side effects from the shot, but I think in the long run it’s only going to benefit everyone and sometimes you got to take a step back and think of other people around you.”
DePauw University officials are encouraging all of their students to get the vaccine, but like other colleges in Indiana, they are not requiring one.