Local health departments find success in first week of Phase 1B vaccinations

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 7:38 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - The first week of COVID-19 vaccinations for Michigan’s phase 1B is coming to a close and health departments are still looking to receive more doses. The state’s vaccine rollout is much slower than anticipated and some local health departments are nervous they won’t have enough supply for next week.

Mid-Michigan District Health Officer Marcus Cheatham said, “I think the word to describe the first couple of weeks here is slow.”

The Mid-Michigan District Health Department oversees three counties including Clinton, Gratiot, and Montcalm. They were given about 8,000 doses and are quickly running out.

Cheatham said the health department only has a few hundred doses left and they will be used next week, but on a call with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Friday, local health departments will be receiving more doses next week.

Cheatham said, “We did meet with MDHHS today and they did tell us that they plan to give all the local health departments and most of the hospitals some vaccine, but they don’t know how much. We don’t know what size clinic to plan for and what size groups we can do.”

While Mid-Michigan District Health Department waits for more doses, its website is struggling to keep up with the influx of people wanting to make an appointment. On Thursday, the website crashed.

Cheatham said “We have had so much traffic on our website that it actually shut down yesterday. It wasn’t available to people and we couldn’t update it with the latest information because it was crashed and we’ve gotten about eight thousand phone calls a day, which means almost all of them aren’t answered.”

The website is up and running now, but the quickest way to receive vaccine updates from the health department is to sign up for its e-newsletter.

On the flipside, the Ingham County Health Department had a successful first week with phase 1b.

Health officer Linda Vail said, “It went into gear, it started moving without a hitch. We vaccinated about 3,000 people this week in those three eight-hour days quite easily.”

The health department already has next week’s doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Teachers are the health department’s top priority right now.

Cheatham said, “When we have to quarantine teachers, schools shut down so we need to get them vaccinated so they’re safe and they’re not spreading it themselves to kids and families and so the schools can stay open.”

Ingham County receives about 2,900 doses per week. It expects that number to increase to four thousand doses in the coming weeks.

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