There were several comments made during last night’s Town Council meeting that were misinformed (https://youtu.be/rH9dK9WRWM8?t=1966). What is most troubling is the suggestion that Zionsville has missed an opportunity to facilitate the deployment of vaccines. This is not true.
Last month I responded to an email from Tom Santelli within 1-1/2 hours of inquiry with a point of contact for Zionsville's vaccination location effort and named our EMS Director, Kerry O’Haver, along with a referral to the Unified Command to follow the chain of command as a responsible community partner specifically to Fire Chief Josh Westrich. I never stated that we were uninterested in hosting a vaccination site, should the need arise.
In November, my administration supported the Boone County Health Department (BCHD) and Witham’s efforts to bring a testing and future vaccination center at the 4-H Fairgrounds. In December, the Zionsville Fire Department outlined a meeting that was held with State officials to discuss the possibilities of providing testing and vaccination sites in Zionsville. In mid-November, Andrew Forrester from the Governor’s office reached out to the Mayor’s office to see if we had any additional testing locations in Zionsville. In response, the Deputy Mayor reached out to the Fire Department to explore various empty sites in Zionsville. Tom Ryan in the BCHD deferred to the Unified Command to assess all available options. Ultimately CVS and Walgreens were included as potential distribution sites for both testing and vaccination.
This week, Lisa Younts, Executive Director of the BCHD, confirmed with the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) that opening additional vaccination sites would not increase the weekly allocation of vaccines the County receives. While that may change in the future, as of now BCHD receives 1300 vaccination shots per week which is not enough to fully operate the current vaccination site at the Fairgrounds. In other words, if the ISDH allocates more vaccination shots to BCHD, there is still capacity to deploy these vaccinations at the Fairground location which is fully staffed and operational.
If the weekly doses allocated to Boone County increases beyond the capacity of the Fairground location, then Zionsville may launch an additional vaccination site. Also, ISDH may allow “pop-up” vaccination clinics in certain locations. Our understanding of the “pop-up” clinics is that they are fully staffed by the ISDH and operate for 1-2 days. However, we would need to have a site available on very short notice (24-48 hours). The Town continues to actively investigate and identify sites within Zionsville that could potentially be utilized to serve as additional vaccination sites, if and when the need arises. Both the Mayor's Office and the Town Council are, and have been, fully in support of this effort.
To be clear, anything that the Town of Zionsville undertakes to help combat COVID-19 in our community will be done at the direction of our County/State Health Department. We stand ready to do our part when called upon to do so by them, by identifying and providing additional vaccination sites which would be able to be utilized when they become needed, or by doing anything else we can do to aid in the vaccination effort to ensure that our residents get vaccinated as soon as possible. Our Town government continues to be committed to doing all we can to combat COVID-19.