Vaccine enrollment opened to everyone 16 years and older in Indiana today. Like clockwork, websites were inundated with appointment requests from students and young adults seizing their chance to finally get a step closer to normalcy.
As of March 31, more than 1.1 million Hoosiers have been fully vaccinated, according to the Indiana State Department of Health. In Monroe County, the number is approaching 22,000 — close to 15% of the total county population listed by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is reasonable to conclude vaccination rates in and outside the county will continue to steadily climb as they become increasingly available to more Hoosiers.
Like many out-of-state students, my attention to vaccination rates has been divided between my home state of Illinois and my home-away-from-home, Indiana.
I was lucky enough to secure an appointment March 31 through one of the CVS locations in Bloomington — meaning I will be fully vaccinated before I return home for the summer — and I was ecstatic.
The health care workers administering the vaccine are some of the best and most professional. They want to help, and they know how.
Walking into the CVS on 3rd street, I was greeted by a fully prepped team of temperature screeners and vaccine administrators — all ready and willing to help me through the seamless sign-in process.
Even though I had an appointment, I ended up waiting in line for about 15 minutes before a pharmacist could see me. After that, the vaccine was painless, the pharmacist could not have been nicer. Once my 15-minute waiting period was over, I was free to leave.
Quick, easy and simple.
Leaving the vaccination site, I felt really optimistic about the future. After more than a year of living through the COVID-19 pandemic, I felt like normal life was finally coming into view.
But even in my excitement for my first dose, I had to remember the first vaccination does not make you immune.
Full protection against COVID-19, as is standard for both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, will not be complete until two weeks after my second dose. Those receiving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will have to wait two weeks after their first and only dose for full protection against the virus.
Until I’m fully vaccinated, I will continue taking every precaution. Even afterward, I’ll wear my mask whenever I’m in public.
Still, I remain hopeful an increase in availability of vaccines will result in an increase in vaccination rates.
IU students and Bloomington residents: Our time is now. Register for your COVID-19 vaccine through the state website or check availability at your local pharmacies.
Together we can help end the COVID-19 pandemic, but only if we all do our part in receiving the vaccine.
Chris Sciortino (he/him) is a sophomore studying theater and political science. He's an NPR and musical theater fanatic, and also a proud member of the Singing Hoosiers.