Want a COVID-19 booster shot before Thanksgiving? Be ready to wait a while


INDIANAPOLIS — If you’re looking to get a booster shot before Thanksgiving, you might be waiting a while.

In some counties, appointments are booking out weeks in advance for both booster shots and pediatric doses.

“When you have older populations that are at greater risk and that need boosters; and then that younger group coming is in and occupying all those same vaccination sites and appointment times,” said Thomas Duszynski, Director of Epidemiology at Fairbanks School of Public Health.

Duszynski describes it as a ‘perfect storm.’

Children ages 5 to 11 are now eligible for the vaccine at the same time many adults have become eligible for a booster shot.

What does the new January 4th vaccine mandate mean for me?

“We only have a limited number of vaccination sites across the state,” Duszynski said.

Last week– Marion County Public Health officials told me same day appointments were available.

However, when we searched for available appointments on the state’s website today– the next available appointment was in two weeks.

“We are discussing opening a special clinic later this week or next if that becomes necessary,” said Melissa McMasters, administrator of the Marion County Public Health Department.

McMasters says appointments are encouraged but a limited number of walk-ins are welcome.

“If you can’t get an appointment where you normally go, think about a pharmacy or other options available,” McMasters said.

Hoosiers can get a vaccine at any location in the state, regardless of county residency.

“If anyone is struggling to get a vaccine or the nearest site is full, come see us,” said Stephenie Mellinger, administrator of Madison County Health Department. “We have appointments open today”

Mellinger says same day appointments and walk-ins are available.

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Health officials are encouraging children and adults wanting a booster shot to get their dose before Thursday to be the most effective before Thanksgiving. 

“It takes two weeks to be effective,” McMasters said.

“The more people we can get vaccinated, including kids, the less community spread, fewer people getting infections which means fewer opportunities for variants to emerge,” Duszynski said.

Health officials are encouraging Hoosiers to go to vaccine sites outside of their area to find the soonest appointment available.

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