Sparrow to begin distributing vaccines to frontline essential workers and elderly, health officials weigh in

Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 3:32 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - On Tuesday, Sparrow will begin distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to those 70 and older and other members of the 1B vaccination group.

The vaccination distribution will be happening at the Sparrow Laboratories Drive-Thru Services site at Frandor. They have set up an easy-to-use registration process.

The pace of the distribution will be dependent on the weekly supply of doses that Sparrow receives from the government. Sparrow will schedule clinics based on the weekly amount of doses they receive.

It is important to note that the Phase 1B group also includes frontline essential workers, such as law enforcement, firefighters, shelter workers, teachers, and child care workers. Vaccines are by appointment only.

The site is located at 3131 E. Michigan Ave. in Lansing.

There will be no charge for the vaccine. However, administrative costs will be billed to insurance. If patients do not have insurance, they will not be charged.

Todd Belding is the System Director of Pharmacy at Sparrow Health, he says the goal is to distribute hundreds of shots a day.

“We’re focusing on 70 and above and frontline caregivers,” said Belding. “We’re looking at about in between 500 and 600 shots a day. We’re trying to do six days a week so Tuesday through Saturday. This week, we’ll take Sunday off and then we’ll start again next week Monday through Saturday.”

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail is making it clear that not all healthcare workers are eligible at this time.

“Originally, there was a whole 1B category but because vaccine came out so slowly the state did prioritize frontline 1B workers first,” she said. “The 1B workers who are eligible are school teachers, corrections workers, daycare workers, other school personnel, that have direct contact with children as well as fire and law enforcement and a few others.”

She says healthcare workers who are not exposed to a lot of people are not first priority.

She says the test for whether or not frontline workers are eligible is dependent upon whether or not they’re in contact with lots of people for prolonged periods of time throughout the day. Officials say it’s important that elders are prioritized as well.

“The older you are, the worse outcomes you have, the more severe outcomes you have from the disease,” said Belding.

One local 75-year-old resident says he’s happy to soon be one of the first getting the vaccine.

“I have diabetes and high blood pressure so I think it’s important for me to get vaccinated,” he said.

He says he hopes the vaccines will quickly stop the spread of coronavirus.

“If everybody does it you know, I’m hoping, I know there are a lot of naysayers out there who don’t believe in this but with all the deaths that have occurred because of this I think it’s just so important to have everybody vaccinated,” he said.

So far, Sparrow has distributed 11,971 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to caregivers and others this weekend. Overall, Sparrow has received a total of 22,600 vaccine doses.

If you qualify and are in the respective vaccination group, you can contact 877-205-1300 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday if you need assistance with registration.

For more information about vaccine eligibility and the registration sign-up, click here.

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