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Nearly 86,000 Hoosiers age 80 or older have scheduled appointments to receive free COVID-19 vaccines as of 4 p.m. Sunday.

Hoosiers can continue to register at https://ourshot.in.gov, by calling 211 or by contacting one of Indiana’s Area Agencies on Aging for help.  

A caregiver or loved one also may make an appointment on behalf of an eligible senior.

Individuals age 80 and older account for less than 4 percent of the state’s population but represent more than 19 percent of the hospitalizations and more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in the state, according to the Indiana Department of Health.

At least one vaccine clinic will be located in each Indiana county.

There is no word yet where Washington County’s will be located. 

Vaccines are free, but insurance may be charged an administrative fee.

Appointments for the second dose will be made at the clinic when the first dose is administered.

Additional groups, such as those based on underlying health conditions, will be added as more vaccine becomes available.

Indiana next plans to vaccinate age groups beginning next with Age 70-79 and then  Age 60-69 and so on. 

Updates will be posted at https://ourshot.in.gov.

In 2009, public health departments across the country hosted clinics to vaccinate people against H1N1 influenza. where priority was given to those at the highest risk of falling ill or dying from the new flu strain. 

The H1N1 campaign provided about 100 million doses in four months, said Julie Swann, Allison distinguished professor and department head of industrial and systems engineering at North Carolina State University, who worked with the CDC on that campaign.

The coronavirus vaccination effort is about four times larger, she added.

The polio vaccination effort that began in 1955 proceeded with fits and starts after a manufacturing error early on led to imperfect vaccines that actually infected hundreds of people and killed 11.

Once that was addressed, vaccinations proceeded.

A second oral vaccine was approved in 1961, further spurring the vaccine effort.

By the mid-60s, the number of polio cases in the United States dropped to fewer than 100, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Since 1979, no cases of polio have originated in the United States.