FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- Allen County health leaders are set to open a COVID-19 vaccine clinic Wednesday inside the Memorial Coliseum that could be there for about six months.
"We want to get lots of shots in arms because what we know of these two vaccines is they are spectacular in stopping severe disease and stopping hospitalizations," said Allen County Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter.
With an average of 70 Hoosiers a day dying of COVID-19, the vast majority of them elderly, the only people eligible to receive the vaccine at the clinic right now are people 80 and older who have registered for an appointment to get it.
Walk ins will not be allowed.
"We'll eventually offer vaccines to everybody 60 years of age and older. We hope that will progress quickly, and it's really limited by our vaccine supply at this point," he said.
Allen County has 800 doses of the vaccine for the clinic this week and another 800 doses the next, with appointments booked well into next week.
However, once the county receives more vaccines, the Coliseum has the space to vaccinate up to 1400 people a day.
It will be the Moderna vaccine because it doesn't require the ultra cold storage that the Pfizer shots do.
But this was not some thrown together project.
"You need to prepare for the next pandemic, need to be able to do mass medication, mass vaccination. So we've always prepared every year. We've prepared with this particular building, as well. So we come to this day where we are now putting it into full force and doing what we have planned for almost 30 years here locally," health department administrator Mindy Waldron said.
And that planning is now helping other cities.
"Yesterday, as an example, I gave copies of our drawings, our set up drawings, to colleagues in Little Rock, Arkansas and Houston, Texas. And part of it is if you haven't done this before, you don't what all the needs from refrigeration to storage of pharmaceutical. All those things come into play," said the Memorial Coliseum's Randy Brown.
Some patients have even been preparing for their appointments.
"We've had guests who have been driving around the complex, coming in the doors, and just confirming where the vaccine location will be. We've taken a number of folks by the hand and guided them through and just said this is where you'll come," Brown said.
A caregiver or partner is encouraged to accompany a patient to the appointment.
You will need to bring a photo ID as well as insurance information if you have it, which will be billed an administration fee, but you will not be charged anything.
At your appointment, you'll be scheduled to get your second dose in about 28 days.
You must register for an appointment in order to get a COVID vaccine.
You can do that by going to this website or by calling 211.
A family member is allowed to sign up for you and go with you to your vaccination appointment.