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Why some are able to schedule COVID-19 vaccine appointments sooner than others

Posted at 6:16 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 18:23:44-04

TIPPECANOE COUNTY — Several Hoosiers have reached out to WRTV concerned about their COVID-19 vaccine appointment being several weeks away.

Some say theirs was scheduled weeks out, but others seem to find available ones within days.

Tom Starn is a Tippecanoe County resident. To him, the COVID-19 vaccine is more than just a shot.

“I just had a grandson and I can't go see him until I get myself through this series of shots,” Starn said.

He said he scheduled his vaccine appointment by calling 211 and he was surprised to find out they were able to get him in sooner than his 83-year-old mother, who scheduled her first shot and is still waiting for her mid-April appointment.

Now with eligibility opening to those 45 and older, even more people have been able to book appointments this month.

“What I started noticing was others were starting to get ahead in the queue that were younger, of course, there might possibly be some sort of excuse, but it seems like a large number of people," Starn said. "The numbers didn't make sense."

He said he called 211 to see if he could reschedule.

“If you call again and say has anything opened up they'll tell you no," Starn said. "As a matter of fact it's later, so how are these people younger getting those spots?”

WRTV looked at the website. As of Wednesday morning, there were March appointments available in Starn’s area.

“I called just two nights ago or last night, they told me that the schedule was out toward the end of April so how is that possible? There's obviously a disconnect,” Starn said.

A spokesperson for the Indiana State Department of Health said in an email, “Before we open to a new age group, our 211 partners try to identify older age groups that may be scheduled out further and move up their appointments. This isn't always possible, so if an individual has an appointment that's scheduled out further, they should call 211 to see if they can find an earlier appointment. When calling 211, it is important to let them know whether you are open to traveling to other sites, as some sites fill up more quickly than others. Some larger sites often have availability, so getting an earlier appointment can be possible if the individual is willing to travel."

Starn says he hopes those looking to get in sooner for an appointment are able to.

“There are lives at stake,” Starn said.

If the state has not contacted you to set up an earlier appointment and you’d like to see what is available you can visit or call 211. You may be able to get an even earlier appointment if you are flexible on location.