Hoosiers age 80 and older became eligible to receive free COVID-19 vaccines Friday morning, and 33,500 Hoosiers signed up between 9 and 11:30 a.m. according to the Indiana Department of Health. Among those registering, 21,000 people scheduled appointments in the first 90 minutes after registration opened.

Indiana residents age 80 and older may register online at https://ourshot.in.gov or by calling 211. Loved ones also may make an appointment on behalf of an eligible senior.

The Indiana Department of Health urges Hoosiers to be patient after high interest in the COVID-19 caused slowdowns to the state’s vaccine registration site and 211 system but says that both systems are working. The vaccine registration site, https://ourshot.in.gov, is designed to put visitors into a holding queue when volume is high. That can contribute to longer wait times or an error message, but Hoosiers should be able to check back at a later time to access the system.

The Clinton County Health Department will be ready to start administering the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday.

“They have two options (to register), but one is having some issues,” said Rodney Wann, administrator at the Clinton County Health Department. “Indiana 211 is assisting seniors, as some seniors are not tech savvy or do not have access to the internet. While the portal is online, they get 211 running properly, it will be able to assist seniors or anyone else who has no internet to be able to schedule an appointment. So, those who have that ability should go to https://ourshot.in.gov.

“They will ask for your zip code or pop a map up where you can select Clinton County,” Wann continued. “It will allow for you to set an appointment and collect registration information about yourself. It will get that taken care of, and then you will have your appointment confirmed by email or text to remind them. From there, they show up for their appointment. If they are fully registered, we can check them in in about a minute or so and check to make sure they do not have a fever at the time.”

Wann says, per CDC regulations, you will usually have a 15-minute wait after receiving the vaccine to make sure there are no ill effects.

“At that time, we will try to schedule their second appointment so they can be ready to go,” he said. “They will get an immunization card that is documentation of their first does and which manufacturer they got it from. That is critical because we want them to get the same type with the second dose.”

According to the Indiana Department of Health, individuals age 80 and older account for less than 4 percent of the state’s population but represent more than 19 percent of the hospitalizations and more than half of the COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Wann says that the Clinton County Health Department will have 35-50 appointments available each day, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and a limited number of doses for now.

“It is all controlled by how much vaccine we have,” he said. “As more is available, they will continue to add additional appointments.”