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Patients at Meijer COVID-19 vaccination clinic express relief after getting long-awaited dose

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Hospitals and county health departments are not the only entities providing COVID-19 vaccines right now.

In a corner of the Meijer department store on Lima Road Wednesday, a COVID-19 vaccine clinic was set up to administer doses of Pfizer vaccine to people who made appointments, and even to some who walked up unannounced. 

State health clinics, local county health departments and hospital networks have been offering COVID-19 vaccinations for months.

Some retail pharmacies like CVS have been giving doses of the vaccine to long-term care facilities.

On Wednesday, Meijer held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic at its Lima Road location with hopes of giving around 1,000 shots.

Right now, the clinic is following state guidelines on eligibility. That means Hoosiers aged 60 years and up can sign up to get the COVID-19 vaccine at a Meijer clinic.

Several people told us they had looked forward to this moment and after going through the process they felt a weight lift from their shoulders. 

Among the clinic patients we found Ron Cytlak said he is curious to see if there will be side effects from the vaccine, especially since he recently was infected with COVID-19.

"When this came up I said I want a shot because I am tired of sitting at home, you know, it's time to get back out in the world and get going again," Cytlak said.

Many patients told us the shot didn't phase them at all.

"I was afraid there would be a line but I got right in. It didn't even hurt.  Oh boy, I didn't think I'd react like this it's just like a load has been lifted off my shoulders," said Kathi Jones, who came in on the spur of the moment to get her dose.

Organizers of the clinic said they are happy to see folks lining up to protect themselves and the community from the virus.

"I've had many people say it's like winning the lottery right now, we all want this to go away, so if we can do anything to help stop Covid and help our community this is it," said Meijer pharmacist Sam Champion.

Those interested in signing up to get their COVID-19 shots at Meijer can register online here or text COVID to 75049.

Once registered, customers will be contacted directly with an appointment time once an appointment window is confirmed for them. 

Another retail pharmacy -- Kroger -- has already been offering the vaccine to eligible Hoosiers in northeast Indiana.

You can see the full list of COVID-19 vaccine clinics in Indiana here.

Thanks to a federal partnership, Meijer is receiving doses of the vaccine from the CDC directly to use in Indiana.

Meijer plans to host 64 vaccine clinics at stores throughout the state.

President Biden promised back in January that we would see 100 million vaccines administered in the U.S. in his 1st 100 days in office.

The CDC is now reporting about 44.5 million Americans have received at least one dose of COVID vaccine.

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Kayla Crandall

Kayla Crandall is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She serves as the Social Media and Digital Content Manager at WPTA. Follow her on Twitter @KaylerJayne.

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