CHICAGO (CBS) — In Indiana, more than a million people are fully vaccinated.
That’s 20% of the population.
But in Lake County and Gary, that number drops to 12%.
That’s about to change when an old school is transformed into a mass vaccination clinic.
CBS 2’s Jim Williams reports 100,000 are expected to get vaccinated in the Gary area over two months.
Starting next week through June 2. There will be one big location and mobile units will be traveling to communities close to Gary.
The mass vaccination site is the former Roosevelt High School in Gary. The site, set up by the federal government, is expected to be up and running by April 7, a week from Wednesday.
Gary Mayor Jerome Prince.
“I’ll use one term and I’d say we’re pretty exuberant around here.”
Exuberant because between this location and mobile vaccination units traveling to nearby communities, 3,000 people a day can get the shots in the Gary area.
“This site within itself will be going for eight weeks and it’s pretty much every day for almost the entire day,” Prince said.
Altogether, 100,000 people are expected to get the vaccine at the site over those eight weeks.
“I think it’s extremely significant.”
As Indiana University professor Doctor Micah Pollak said Gary’s vaccination rate has lagged behind the rest of Indiana. About 30% of adults have had the vaccine throughout the state, 19% percent in Gary and only 13% in the zip code of the mass vaccination site.
Pollak said a lot of ground can be made up in Gary quickly.
“This one site alone could administer as many vaccines as we’ve administered since the beginning of the vaccine eligibility in just 10 days,” Pollack said.
Now Gary, the federal government and the state of Indiana will try to convince skeptics in the community the vaccine is safe.
“To not only encourage people to get vaccinated, but to let them know that they can do it right here in your own community,” Prince said.
Registration for the mass vaccination site and mobile sites will open this week and IU health is offering free rides to vaccination appointments.