Easterseals Arc of Northeast Indiana began administering COVID-19 vaccinations to individuals receiving the agency’s services today.
The vaccination clinic at the agency’s Coldwater Road headquarters is a pilot program for a state initiative to improve access to the vaccine for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. These individuals are in a high-risk group for getting COVID-19 and often have medical conditions that increase the risk of complications from the virus.
Individuals in Easterseals Arc’s group homes and supported living program were given information on the vaccine in written and video form, and they or their guardians were asked to submit consent forms indicating whether they want to receive the vaccine.
“After spending so many months reacting to the spread of COVID-19, offering these vaccines to our consumers finally gives us hope and the ability to do something proactive to help people stay healthy,” said Donna Elbrecht, Easterseals Arc president and CEO.
Easterseals Arc will start out administering 10 vaccines a day, then increase as operations are perfected. The agency has nurses on staff and has contracted additional nurses and nursing students to assist with the process.
“We’re modeling our procedure on other vaccine sites in the way individuals proceed from check-in to receiving the shot to a waiting area afterward,” said Thomas Summerville, Easterseals Arc chief operations officer. “The advantage of offering the vaccine at our facility is that it’s a familiar environment with familiar staff for our consumers who may have fear or anxiety about going to a hospital or other location.”
Easterseals Arc staff will continue to get their vaccines at local hospitals and vaccination clinics, although the agency may expand its on-site vaccine clinic in the future based on vaccine supply and how many consumers sign up.