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Postcards, like the one here, are being sent to residents ages 80 and older, letting them know they are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The Howard County Health Department and Ascension St. Vincent Kokomo are now accepting appointments to administer COVID-19 vaccines to eligible recipients.

The vaccine is now available to individuals age 80 and older, as well as to licensed and unlicensed healthcare workers and first responders who have face-to-face interactions with patients or infectious material or work in a public-facing position that requires in-person contact. A photo ID, proof of age, or verification of current employment as a healthcare worker or first responder in Indiana will be required.

Due to limited supply, vaccinations are available by appointment only to those currently eligible as determined by the Indiana Department of Health. That complete list is posted to https://ourshot.in.gov, and appointments can also be scheduled at that website beginning 9 a.m. today, Friday, Jan. 8. Those who need assistance scheduling or with transportation to the vaccine site may call 211.

Kristina Sommers, public health emergency coordinator for the county health department, said county residents 80-years-old and older will begin receiving flyers soon in the mail notifying them of their eligibility for the vaccine.

There is no cost to the individual, but insurance may be charged an administration fee. Individuals should bring a photo ID and an insurance card if they have one. Appointments are required; walk-ins will not be accepted.

Two vaccines, developed by Pfizer and Moderna, are currently available. Each requires two doses administered at least 21 days apart for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days apart for the Moderna vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after the second vaccination. The Howard County Health Department will be providing the Moderna vaccine.

People who have been vaccinated may still be able to infect others, so even those who are vaccinated should continue wearing a mask and quarantining if they are in close contact of a positive case.

“We as a county health department encourage everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as they are eligible,” said Howard County Health Officer Dr. Emily Backer in a statement. “By doing this we help protect ourselves, our loved ones and our community. Vaccination is the best tool we have to help end this pandemic.”

Tyler Juranovich can be reached at 765-454-8577, by email at tyler.juranovich@kokomotribune.com or on Twitter at @tylerjuranovich

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