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INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Marion County Public Health Department said they should know this week when people in their 70s can sign up to get their COVID-19 vaccine.

Thousands of Hoosiers in their 80s got their first dose of the vaccine on Monday. Health care workers said preparing for the vaccine rollout was challenging but it went smoothly.

“We need to get this vaccine into people’s arms and get this pandemic over with,” said Melissa McMasters with the Marion County Health Department.

She said because of a lot of unknowns, planning for the vaccine rollout was intense. “We weren’t sure exactly when we would be getting the vaccine and exactly how much we would be getting and what priority groups would be getting it first,” said McMasters.

McMasters said vaccinating people in their 80s will hopefully give them some of their freedom back.

“It’s been a long time coming for them. A lot of them haven’t left the house because they’re so worried about getting COVID,” said McMasters.

Marion County planned to vaccinate 300 people on Jan. 11 and 1,500 people by the end of the week. Mary Grove was one of the people vaccinated and she just celebrated her 84th birthday. Grove said she’s happy the vaccine is now available.

“It’s very simple and painless. I hope it’s very effective,” said Grove.

Mike Brown went with his 82-year-old father-in law, William. He said protecting him from the virus has been difficult and now that William received his first dose of the vaccine, Brown is hopeful for brighter days.

“I’m really hoping that in the spring or summer we can get back to going out and doing the things we used to do. Not having to stay locked up and having cabin fever,” said Brown.

“Hopefully it means the first step to getting back to normal and getting over COVID and moving on with our lives,” said McMasters.

The vaccines are free and are administered by appointment only.

Hoosiers who are 80 years old and older and would like to register for the vaccine can do so online or by calling 211 or, for additional help, by contacting one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging. If you need transportation to get the vaccine, call 211.

There are 148 vaccine sites in Indiana.

Indiana State Department of Health on Monday reported 30 more COVID deaths, for a total of 8,643 in the state. A total of 567,338 Hoosiers have tested positive for COVID-19 through Monday, the state says.

Instructions on how to register

  1. Open this site and pick the county of your choice.
  2. Pick the specific location where you would like to get vaccinated.
  3. A pop up will appear at that specific location. Select “Click here to register.”
  4. A new window pops up. Click “People 80 years or older.”
  5. Click on the calendar icon and enter your birthdate (punching it in on your keyboard doesn’t work).
  6. Click the checkbox under “Eligibility Attestation.”
  7. Click “Schedule an Appointment” at the bottom.
  8. You may be placed in a waiting queue.
  9. If you are not in the waiting queue, you’ll be presented with a long list of locations. The page says “If you work at one of the locations listed below, select it now as your vaccination site.” If you do not work at one of these locations, select “I don’t work at any of the healthcare facilities below. I want to search for a vaccination site by ZIP code.”
  10. Scroll to the bottom of the page, select “Yes,” then hit “Schedule a Vaccine.”
  11. Enter your zip code.
  12. Again choose the location you prefer.
  13. Pick your preferred date or choose “Find Next Available Appointment.”
  14. Pick your time.
  15. Enter your personal information.

Coronavirus links

Indiana coronavirus timeline

With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.