Vaccination effort continues as healthcare workers receive first doses

Close to 3,700 Munson Healthcare personnel have received COVID-19 vaccine as of Tuesday morning, including 345 at Grayling Hospital, according to officials
Munson Healthcare officials – during an online press conference on Tuesday, December 29 – said COVID-19 numbers in northern Michigan are improving but they’re “still higher than spring” as Munson Healthcare facilities and area health departments continue their efforts to vaccinate their workers and other potentially vulnerable individuals.
Dr. Christine Nefcy, Munson Healthcare Chief Medical Officer, said overall COVID-19 case numbers are still climbing in the region, but the rate of increase is improving. Dr. Nefcy said the number of inpatient COVID-19 cases in Munson Healthcare facilities is also improving.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Munson Healthcare reported that its regions had more than 19,000 cumulative COVID-19 cases and close to 400 deaths from the disease as of December 28. According to Munson Healthcare, the state of Michigan had close to 520,000 cumulative cases and close to 13,000 deaths as of December 28.
According to numbers provided by Munson Healthcare, the United States had close to 19 million cumulative cases and close to 330,000 COVID-19 deaths as of December 28, and the world had close to 80 million cases with approximately 1.8 million deaths.
Munson Healthcare has started its COVID-19 vaccination effort beginning with healthcare workers.
“As of December 29 at 8 a.m., 3,693 (Munson) Healthcare team members have received their first vaccine,” according to Munson Healthcare. Of the 3,693 doses, 3,464 were the Pfizer vaccine and 229 were the Moderna vaccine, according to Munson Healthcare. Munson officials said close to half of its “eligible employees and credentialed providers (have been) vaccinated or scheduled” as of December 29 at 8 a.m. At Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, 345 workers have received their first of two COVID-19 vaccine doses, Munson Healthcare officials said.
“We are very excited to have started our vaccine clinics. We have given a good number of vaccines across our region,” said Dr. Nefcy. “We’re very excited to provide those vaccines to our healthcare providers.”
Munson Healthcare is using a tiered system to guide its vaccination effort, creating the tiers using recommendations from the Centers For Disease Control and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Tier 1A – the “current level” – includes “healthcare personnel and long term care residents.”
The next group to be vaccinated, Tier 1B, is “essential workers,” which Munson Healthcare defines as “people who play a key role in keeping essential functions of society running and cannot socially distance in the workplace.” Tier 1B includes police, firefighters, corrections officers, educators, agriculture workers, utility workers, and transportation personnel. Tier 1B, after a recent adjustment, also includes “adults 75 years and older.”
Tier 1C was previously listed as “high risk adults” but the tier has been expanded. According to Munson Healthcare, its Tier 1C now includes “high risk adults, people aged 65 and older, people aged 16 and older with underlying medical conditions, (and) other essential workers (such as people who work in transportation and logistics, food service, housing construction and finance, information technology, communications, energy, law, media, public safety, and public health.”
Tier 2 is listed as the “general population.”
Munson Healthcare officials urged people to continue physical distancing, wearing masks, and washing hands often (or using hand sanitizer) as the vaccination effort continues. Healthcare officials have said that it takes two doses of the vaccine for someone to build COVID-19 immunity, and – depending on which vaccine people receive – the two doses must be taken three or four weeks apart. Dr. Nefcy said it takes the body approximately three weeks to build full immunity after receiving the second dose.
During Tuesday’s press conference, Jennifer Morse, District Health Department #10 Medical Director, reported that DHD#10 has received its “initial shipment of the Moderna vaccine from the state and some Pfizer vaccine from Grand Traverse County Health Department” and started its vaccinations efforts with “80 DHD#10 frontline staff, 128 residents and staff of Manistee County Medical Care, (and) eight EMS workers from Manistee County.”
“This week we continue to focus on EMS, medical first responders, and residents of long term care facilities and assisted livings. So far this week we have administered 60 doses in Mason County, 70 doses in Mecosta County, 40 doses in Missaukee County, (and) 30 doses in Oceana County. Clinics are scheduled throughout the week for Crawford, Kalkaska, Lake, Newaygo, and Wexford counties,” according to District Health Department #10.
DHD#10 covers 10 counties in northern Michigan, including Crawford.
District Health Department #10 is using a tiered system for its vaccination effort, but it refers to them as “phases” and they are slightly different that the ones shown in the Munson Healthcare plan.
For DHD#10, “Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home (healthcare personnel, emergency medical services, medical first responders); residents of skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities; homes for the aged; adult foster care centers; home health workers; health workers with direct patient contact who conduct high risk procedures; other workers who have direct patient care (including outpatient, urgent care, ambulatory care); workers who have indirect care with specialized skills critical to heath care systems functioning.”
“Phase 1B includes persons 75 years of age or older; first responders including police, fire fighters; corrections staff, jails, juvenile justices; energy and food production, water, and power; mortuary staff; workers with unique skills such as laboratory, pharmacy; school and day care staff with direct contact with children,” according to District Health Department #10.
“Phase 1C includes individuals age 16 years or older at high risk of severe illness due to COVID-19 infection and some other essential workers whose position impacts life, safety and protection during the COVID-19 response; individuals age 65 to 74 years, including those in a congregate setting that were not reached in prior phases; individuals age 16 to 64 years with COPD, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, obesity or other conditions that puts them at high risk of negative COVID-19 outcome; some other essential workers whose work must be performed on site, not covered in prior phases, will also likely be vaccinated during this phase (MDHHS will adapt this guidance as vaccine availability becomes clearer).”
“Phase 2 includes individuals 16 years of age or older,” according to DHD#10.
Morse said the “phases may change over time.”

Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806

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