INDIANAPOLIS—Today, the Indiana Department of Health announced the opening of several upcoming mass vaccination clinics to ensure eligible Hoosiers are able to receive their free COVID-19 vaccine. Senate Assistant Democratic Leader Eddie Melton (D-Gary) released the following statement on the vaccination sites slated to open on March 20 and March 21 at Calumet High School in Gary:

“I want to thank Dr. Box for working with myself, Gary Health Commissioner Roland Walker and Superintendent Dr. Sharon Shirley on getting the latest vaccination site organized at Calumet High School,” Sen. Melton said. “Having access to the vaccine is of extreme significance to me and my community. Lake County was one of our state’s most impacted areas, so getting a mass vaccination site in this location is an important step in the right direction. This move will ensure that one of our hardest hit areas has the support needed to expedite recovery. It will also ensure that we get more African American Hoosiers vaccinated. As of last month, Black Indiana residents only made up about 4 percent of individuals vaccinated in our state even though we make up about 10 percent of the state’s population. This local and state collaboration will help make sure that more Hoosiers in underserved communities will be able to get those vaccinations easily and swiftly.

“I would also like to commend President Joe Biden for showing leadership and calling for the prioritization of vaccinating our teachers. Indiana Senate Democrats have been calling on the governor to grant educators eligibility for the vaccine since it became available. More than 30 other states have already taken this critical step, and it’s good to see the president urging remaining states to step up and make our educators a priority. Supporting the health and wellbeing of our hardworking teachers, who provide an essential service, is the right thing to do especially as we begin reopening schools. Making sure our teachers are healthy is the safest way we do that, and I’m hoping that the Biden administration will clearly articulate what their vaccination plan for teachers will look like and how it will coincide with our state’s age-based approach.”