ANGOLA — Steuben County will continue to be one of the few sites in northeast Indiana to offer the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 after changes are made to local vaccine clinics.
Thursday, May 20, will be the final day the vaccination clinic operated by Cameron Memorial Community Hospital will be open at the Steuben County Event Center at the Steuben County Park at Crooked Lake. The final Steuben County Health Department clinic at the Event Center is May 19.
The Health Department is moving its operations to the lower level of the Steuben Community Center, 317 S. Wayne St. and will reopen for business on May 18.
“We were just approved to do Pfizer so we are going to be keeping busy,” said Alicia Walsh, administrator of the Health Department.
The Pfizer vaccine is the only one that has been approved for people 12-17. Previously, only youth 16-18 were allowed to receive the vaccine, which is administered in two doses. That was just expanded to 12 and older starting today.
The next closest Pfizer sites to the four-county area are in Fort Wayne, either at the Mirro Center just off Interstate 69 at Dupont Road or at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum. There are also sites in Goshen and Elkhart are offering Pfizer shots.
The Cameron vaccine clinic has been in operation since mid-December when the hospital started providing vaccines for health care workers and first responders. Cameron was a regional site, serving this population from DeKalb, LaGrange, Noble and Steuben counties.
Once vaccinations were opened up to the public, the Event Center site was shared by Cameron, offering Pfizer, and the Health Department, offering Moderna and occasionally Johnson & Johnson, a one-dose vaccine.
Now that the Health Department has been approved for Pfizer, it is still partnering with Cameron, which will provide the necessary ultra sub-zero storage for the sensitive vaccine.
“They are not out of the game at all,” Walsh said of Cameron.
“We are proud of the historic impact our team has made within our community and its members,” said Andy Aldred, Cameron’s executive director of ancillary services. “Cameron’s mission has always been to improve the quality of life for those we serve, and we feel confident we have done just that throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Our efforts will not end with the conclusion of our time at the Steuben County Event Center. Cameron will continue to support the needs of the state, county and local community in every way possible.”
It had always been in the cards to have a sunset on the clinics at the Event Center, which is booking events for the coming months, particularly in June with weddings coming. In addition, it was expected that demand for vaccines could start to lessen as the summer months neared.
Early on, when vaccines were first made available to older segments of the population, demand was high, with many waiting to get appointments. That since has waned.
Steuben County has been one of the leaders when it comes to vaccination rates. As of Tuesday, 11,792 Steuben County residents had been fully vaccinated. In addition, the Cameron clinic had administered 28,596 doses as of Monday.
The Health Department is expected to receive the Pfizer vaccine soon. Visitors to the Community Center clinic will be able to request that shot along with Moderna and Johnson & Johnson.
Resources to register for a COVID-19 vaccine appointment are as followed:
• Visit ourshot.in.gov to schedule an appointment.
• Dial 211
• Call the Steuben County Council on Aging at 668-8191
• Call the Steuben County Health Department at 668-1000 Ext. 1500.
The hours of operation for the new clinic have been established. They are:
Monday: Noon to 4:20 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Wednesday 2-6:30 p.m.
Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.