BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington, in coordination with the Monroe County Health Department and local government officials, has initiated plans to open a public site on campus from which to administer free COVID-19 vaccines to eligible recipients.
Pending state registration confirmation and once plans are finalized, IU Bloomington will provide local residents with an additional location option when they schedule their appointments to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In Indiana, the vaccine is available by appointment only to those currently eligible as determined by the Indiana Department of Health.
The exact start date and location of the clinic have not been determined.
"Indiana University Bloomington is pleased to continue our great partnership with community health leaders by contributing space and resources for local vaccination efforts, in alignment with the university's public health mission," IU Bloomington Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel said. "It's critical that, as Hoosiers become eligible for the vaccine, we can safely vaccinate as many people as possible, which will be crucial for us to move past this deadly pandemic."
Earlier this week, Robel approved a proposal, developed by IU's COVID-19 Response Unit, for the IU Bloomington campus to serve as a vaccination "POD," or point of dispensing, in Monroe County, along with IU Health Bloomington Hospital and the Monroe Convention Center. She presented the proposal to members of the Monroe County Health Department and local elected officials, who endorsed the plan.
"We look forward to having additional opportunities for members of our community to be vaccinated," Monroe County Health Administrator Penny Caudill said. "The more opportunities there are for people to pick the location that best serves them, the more we can achieve our overall goal, which is to get the vaccine to individuals, and into arms, as quickly as possible."
IU Bloomington has begun planning its vaccination site in coordination with local health officials. More information about the location of the clinic and its start date will be available soon. The opening of the site will likely be impacted by the availability of the vaccine in Indiana.
"We are excited to announce this major contribution to our state's vaccination response effort and look forward to helping more and more Hoosiers get vaccinated," said Dr. Lana Dbeibo, director of vaccine initiatives for Indiana University's COVID-19 Medical Response Team and an assistant professor of infectious diseases in the IU School of Medicine. "Data from well-conducted clinical trials involving tens of thousands of individuals show that the COVID-19 vaccine is extremely safe and effective, and we firmly believe that the vaccine is our best way out of the pandemic."
The COVID-19 vaccine is currently available to any Indiana resident age 70 and older, as well as long-term care residents, first responders (fire, law enforcement, emergency medical services, reservists and volunteers) who have in-person contact with the public, and licensed and unlicensed health care workers who have in-person contact with patients or infectious material in any health care setting. Appointments can be scheduled at ourshot.in.gov, which includes regularly updated information about vaccine eligibility, safety and administration.
IU has prepared members of its campus communities for the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine since it became available last month. IU medical and nursing students are helping the state with its large-scale vaccination deployment effort. Additionally, IU continues to provide answers to common questions about the vaccine at covid.iu.edu.