The Tippecanoe County Health Department Monday opened the doors of its makeshift vaccination clinic. The clinic currently offers COVID-19 vaccinations to a group of people that includes residents over the age of 80.
The county health department is doing its best to make the clinic, located in a strip mall adjacent to a Payless, feel welcoming.
The back wall of the clinic, which serves as the waiting room for people who have received the vaccine, has a still-wet graffiti mural. A large fan works overtime to dry it out.
Vaccine appointments at the clinic are still available for healthcare and public safety workers who haven’t yet received a vaccine, but the clinic is primarily aimed at people over the age of 80.
Khala Hochstedler, Tippecanoe County Health Department administrator, said the goal will be to vaccinate 100 people on this first day. She said residents with appointments will be called in, vaccinated, and monitored for fifteen minutes for adverse reactions before scheduling their second vaccination appointment and leaving.
“This whole process is supposed to take 24 minutes from the time you walk in the door,” Hochstedler said.
Outside the clinic, Charles and Dixie Berry said they were the first over-eighty-year-olds in the county to receive the vaccine. They are both in their 90s and were registered for the clinic by their granddaughter, a Kentucky resident.
“We didn’t know anything about it,” Dixie Berry said. “She surprised us.”
“I’m just glad to get it over with,” said Charles Berry.
Fritz and Jane Vogel, both in their 80s, said they were excited to get the vaccine.
“We’ve been hibernating since last March,” Jane Vogel said. “It’s going to be nice to get out eventually and feel safe.”
The pair said after they get their second vaccination in two weeks they plan to go out to eat at a steakhouse - any steakhouse, so long as it has good food.
The Vogels, like the Berrys, were signed up for the clinic by a grandchild.
“Our grandson is a pharmacist down in Evansville,” Fritz said. “He called us and said if you want me to I’ll get with my aunt and have her help you.”
The Vogels both said that the process was easy and people shouldn’t be afraid to get vaccinated.
“I’ve heard of a lot of people being concerned about it,” Friz said. “I’d rather do this than take my chances and not do it. At our age anyway.”
The Tippecanoe County health department is warning residents that for the first couple of days, the vaccination process could be a little bumpy.
“Is it going to go smoothly today? Probably not,” said Hochstedler. “Are there going to be hiccups along the way? May you have to wait more than 24 minutes? At the end of the day what’s important is you’re going to get a dose in your arm and you need to be patient with us.”
Eventually, Hochstedler said she hopes the clinic will vaccinate about 200 people a day. But for now, she said, she just hopes this process runs as smoothly as possible.