By ZAK CASSEL
As the federal government’s public health emergency declaration for COVID-19 expired May 11, the Marion County Public Health Department announced that it will continue to offer free vaccinations at nine locations.
Vaccines prevent serious illness and protect against hospitalization and death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also build immunity more safely than by contracting the disease and bolster immunity in those who have already had it.
Residents can schedule an appointment at one of four district health offices — Northwest, Northeast, South and Eagledale Plaza. For clinic hours and contact information, go to the MCPHD website. Appointments are also available at the Action Health Center, which can be reached at 317-221-3400.
Walk-in clinics are still available at multiple locations, including at the IndyGo Julia M. Carson Transit Center on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The College Avenue, Martindale-Brightwood, and Garfield Park library branches are also hosting clinics. Contact each location for specific hours.
Free walk-in testing is available at the Johnson Building, 3901 Meadows Drive, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Since April 5, nine people in Marion County have died from COVID-19, according to the county health department, including one person since the beginning of May. Although average hospital admissions have decreased in Indiana over the past week, emergency department visits for COVID-like illness and COVID-19 total cases have increased only slightly.
With the end of the public health emergency, aspects of the government’s COVID-19 response will change, according to the CDC, including a shift of responsibility for tests and treatments to health insurance providers. Providers will no longer be obligated to cover at-home tests, and costs for treatments like Paxlovid will be determined by individual insurers and manufacturers after the federal government’s supplies run out.
But access to vaccines “will generally not be affected for now,” according to the CDC’s announcement.
Contact investigative reporter Zak Cassel at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: @zakcassel_