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Demand exceeds availability for local COVID-19 vaccinations

People with greater vulnerability due to age or exposure have been prioritized
(Kate Porter)
Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 11:59 AM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Over the span of only five days more than 12,000 people have scheduled appointments to get their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from the Ingham County Health Department (ICHD), yet thousands more are waiting for that opportunity. The cause of the wait: A limited supply of the vaccinations.

The majority of appointments have gone to people aged 70 and over, followed then by teachers and staff working in Pre-K through high school, as well as child care workers. In the first phase of vaccinations, health care workers were treated, with the ICHD administering 3,057 vaccines.

“The demand for the vaccine is overwhelming,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “We are working as fast as we can, but the outpouring of people has caused some technical glitches as well as a sizeable backlog of calls and emails. I ask the public to please be patient with health department staff as we try to assist everyone. Many people are desperate to get the shot or to see a loved one get the shot. We feel their sense of urgency and will press forward until everyone who wants the vaccine can get it.”

The ICHD has estimated that there are 83,000 people in Ingham County now eligible for the vaccine, but due to supplies being less than the demand only approximately 2,000 new people each week can receive one. The health department is largely booked through February 24, but looking for opportunities to scale up vaccinations through partnerships and increased supply.

As of midnight Sunday, Sparrow Hospital had distributed 7,700 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and is making plans to begin administering the vaccination this week to members of the public in the 1B group (70 and older, per the recommendation of the Ingham County Health Department) and to essential workers.

This week’s distribution for Sparrow is by invitation-only in limited numbers. A wider public distribution will begin next week.

At this time, the Ingham County Health Department is administering the Pfizer vaccine only. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized use of the vaccine under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA).

Details regarding the times and locations of the mass vaccination clinics remain undisclosed publicly as vaccination is by appointment only for the ICHD. At the vaccination clinic, people must present their identification and proof of employment if it is applicable to their priority group. Appointments are only open to people who live or work in Ingham County.

To get vaccinated through ICHD, people must complete a registration form available on the health department’s website. People with greater vulnerability due to age or exposure have been prioritized.

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