CHICAGO (CBS) — The shuttered Roosevelt High School in Gary, Indiana, will be turned into a mass vaccination center in early April, Gov. Eric Holcomb and the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced Monday.
The mass vaccination clinic will operate for eight weeks beginning on April 7, and will be capable of administering 3,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines per day. It will operate from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week, offering first doses of the Pfizer vaccine for the first three weeks. Second doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be administered in the fourth, fifth, and sixth weeks. The final two weeks the clinic is open, single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccines will be given out.
Officials said any Indiana resident eligible for the vaccine can get a shot at the clinic (beginning Wednesday, that will be any Hoosiers age 16 and older), but the focus will be on making sure high-risk and underserved people in northwest Indiana have easy access to appointments. Registration will open later this week.
The location at 730 W. 25th Ave. was chosen based on its proximity to a large number of high-risk Hoosiers, and because Gary is lagging behind the rest of Indiana in vaccinations. Approximately 19% of people in Gary have been vaccinated, compared to about 30% statewide. The zip code where Roosevelt High School is located has a vaccination rate of about 13%.
“By opening this mass vaccination clinic in Gary, more Hoosiers will have convenient access to this life-saving vaccine in their own backyard,” Holdomb said in a statement. “We are grateful that our federal partners selected Gary in this next phase of the roll-out process, and I want to encourage every Hoosier to sign up for a vaccine so that they can protect themselves and those they love.”
A total of 2,000 doses per day will be administered at the mass vaccination site, and 1,000 more doses per day will be allocated to mobile units that will host clinics in underserved parts of northern Indiana. Operational hours and locations for the mobile units are still being finalized.
Indiana officials expect a total of more than 100,000 people will be vaccinated through the new mass vaccination clinic.
The doses being made available at Roosevelt High School are in addition to the state’s normal allotment from the federal government. The clinic will be a drive-thru operation, but will be accessible to those who come by bus or other means of transportation.
To help those who might have difficulty getting to the site, IU Health is offering free rides to any vaccination site in the state through a partnership with Lyft. Additional transportation options will be provided.
The site will be managed by the Indiana State Department of Health, The Indiana National Guard, and the U.S. Department of Defense, with support from FEMA, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, the City of Gary, and the Lake County Emergency Management Agency.