Lack of supply continues to slow the COVID-19 vaccination effort
Fri, 01/22/2021 - 4:53pm caleb
Area healthcare facilities offer online and telephone options for people to make appointments, join waiting lists
Caleb Casey | Managing Editor
State officials said the COVID-19 vaccination effort is going well so far in Michigan despite short supply of the vaccine and difficulties with scheduling appointments.
Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive, said Michigan is doing well with its vaccine effort compared to some other states.
“I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made in the state with over 598,000 doses of the COVID-19 safe and effective vaccine going in arms,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said during a January 22 update to the state that also featured Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “I am so proud of the work of our local health departments, our hospitals, and our pharmacy partners in getting us to our goal.”
“However, while we’re pleased with the progress we’re making with vaccines, there’s simply not enough available right now for everyone who is eligible to receive one, so please be patient,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said.
“Right now we’re getting as many vaccines for a week for the state as we want for a day for the state,” Governor Whitmer said. “We’re asking that people be patient, that you make your reservation when you have the opportunity to, and some of those reservations may be a couple weeks out or longer, but we will get to everyone. Everyone who wants a vaccine is going to get one.”
District Health Department #10, which covers Crawford County and nine other counties in northern Michigan, recently suspended its online vaccine appointment registration system due to lack of vaccines. DHD#10 is now offering “Waitlist Registration Links” on its website for certain eligible people.
“District Health Department #10 added two additional Waitlist Registration Links to our website for those healthcare workers in Phase 1A who have not been vaccinated and for individuals in Phase 1B, except for PreK-12 school staff, to complete. DHD#10 is working directly with school administrators to coordinate vaccine clinics for their staff, so we ask that school staff not register on the waitlist,” according to District Health Department #10.
“Currently, there are three Waitlist Registration Links on our website: 1. Seniors 65+; 2. Phase 1A Healthcare Workers; 3. Phase 1B Priority Frontline Workers (except schools). Please go to www.dhd10.org/covid-19-vaccine/ to review the information. It is important that individuals read all instructions and information posted on our website first before completing the form to get on the waitlist. If you do not have access to technology, consider reaching out to friends or family members to ask for assistance. The fastest way to get on the waiting list is to complete the online registration,” according to District Health Department #10.
DHD#10 is also offering a phone option for people with limited internet options.
“For those seniors 65 and older who do not have access to technology and do not have others to assist you, there is a hotline number to call: 231-715-5557. Someone will complete your form with you over the phone to get on the waiting list. Once you are on the waiting list, you will be contacted when the vaccine is available so you can be scheduled to receive it. Please know this phone number is experiencing extremely high call volumes. Keep trying if you are having trouble getting through,” according to District Health Department #10.
The department is asking people not to call its office about the vaccine right now, and to utilize online methods for getting information.
“DHD#10 asks for patience during this period of uncertainty. Please refrain from calling the health department to ask about scheduling the vaccine. Sign up for our Public Health Alert at www.dhd10.org/subscribe to stay informed,” according to District Health Department #10.
Munson Healthcare officials said vaccination clinics have been ongoing in their region, concentrating on healthcare workers and the elderly.
“As of January 18, Munson Healthcare has administered 12,191 total vaccines. We also continue to hold on-site clinics for employees, volunteers, contractors, and frontline healthcare workers,” according to Munson Healthcare. “Munson Healthcare’s COVID-19 community vaccination efforts now include all individuals aged 82 and older who reside within our service area. The Munson Healthcare service area includes the following counties: Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Gladwin, Grand Traverse, Lake, Leelanau, Manistee, Mason, Mecosta, Missaukee, Montmorency, Ogemaw, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Roscommon, and Wexford. Any individual aged 65-81 who shares a household with a person aged 82 or older within the Munson Healthcare Service Area is also eligible to receive a vaccine.”
Munson Healthcare officials said people who live in the above listed counties who meet the age and eligibility requirements can “call 231-935-7468 to schedule a vaccine appointment at a Munson Healthcare clinic. Call lines will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. The vaccine scheduling call lines will be very busy, so please be patient when calling.”
Officials from Munson Healthcare said people can use the 231-935-7468 number to “schedule multiple people from a household at the same time” during the same phone call as long as all of those people fall within the current eligibility requirements.
Munson Healthcare officials said eligible people can go through their local health department or Munson Healthcare to secure a vaccination appointment, but they recommended people do not try to use both methods at the same time.