SPEEDWAY — Lines were steady at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and at the Northwest Clinic as parents took their children to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Online scheduling for pediatric vaccine appointments for all locations went live Thursday morning and the Indiana State Health Department tells WRTV all appointments up until November 16 have been filled.
Hundreds of doses were expected to be given out to children at IMS Thursday evening as cars were bumper to bumper with children inside anxiously waiting to get to their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
To help speed up the process, the state is asking people to make appointments. Parents can call 211 for help or visit coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine/ to make an appointment. Walk-ins are welcome, but are warned wait times might be long and supply might not be available.
"We got in line an hour early and we were the first people to get vaccinated so we are so excited," said Kristine Low, a parent.
Low says Wednesday's success at the vaccination clinic across from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway made her bring her two girls there on Thursday.
"Both of my girls go to public school and we have grandparents they are around. We have friends that are children that are severely immunocompromised that we do playdates with. We try to wear N95 masks when we are with them," Low said.
Low started talking to her two girls months ago to make them comfortable about when it would be their turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
"They were a little bit nervous, but we talked about it, didn't we girls?" asked Low. "We talked about it for several months now saying when the vaccine comes out we want to get it."
Low's daughter, Rena, said it didn't even hurt that bad.
"We got a sticker," she said.
The Speedway is no longer the only place across the Indianapolis area where parents can take their kids to get vaccinated.
The Marion County Public Health Department rolled out vaccines for the first time Thursday for children ages five to 11 at the Northwest Clinic.
Dr. Virginia Caine says they had about 100 doses to give out Thursday.
Because of the excitement among parents, they plan to double that soon so there is enough supply to go around.
"This is such a critical thing for protection and prevention in our children," Caine said.
She says 55% of Indianapolis residents have gotten at least one dose of the vaccine and added that children getting vaccinated could be a game-changer.
"Children can be some of the highest transmitters of infection for cases, so if we can make a dent even a third of the children from five to 11 being vaccinated will be huge in giving substantial benefits in reducing our cases we are seeing as of today," said Caine.
She says a hotline is available to call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, if parents have questions or concerns about the vaccine.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only COVID-19 vaccine currently authorized for use in individuals under age 18. The pediatric dose is lower than the dosage for ages 12 and older; locations carrying the pediatric dose for children ages five to 11 are designated by a pin on the map at ourshot.in.gov.
Pediatric vaccine supplies may be limited initially as shipments arrive on a staggered basis, so appointments may be spread out over several days. Additional sites will be added to the map as the vaccine arrives.
A parent or guardian must provide consent for the vaccine, and children under 16 must be accompanied to the vaccination appointment by an adult.
The Fishers mass vaccination site hours are as follows:
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday: noon to 7:00 p.m.
- Wednesday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Thursday: noon to 7:00 p.m.
- Friday: 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
- Saturday: 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
- Sunday: Closed
Walk-in availability ends 30 minutes before closing.