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Genesee County Health Department releases details on COVID-19 vaccine plan

Published: Jan. 13, 2021 at 7:11 PM EST
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - The Genesee County Health Department discussed more details about plans to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine this year.

The health department hosted an online press conference Wednesday with information about what people eligible for the vaccine can do to reserve a dose for themselves.

For right now, Medical Health Director Dr. Pamela Hackert said eligible people people should go to the health department’s website and make an appointment. However, she pointed out that eligibility doesn’t necessarily lead to availability of vaccine.

Appointment availability is heavily dependent on vaccine availability.

“Going forward, we have requested 3,000 doses of vaccine for this week’s request. Those, if we’re lucky enough to get it, would be received next week,” Hackert said.

From there, she said 75% of all vaccine doses the department receives will go towards people 65 years and older. The remaining 25% will go toward people in Phase 1B, which includes critical workers like teachers and first responders.

Genesee County has about 150,000 people who qualify for the vaccine in Phase 1B.

“We are ready to accept more vaccines and ramp up our vaccine clinics to the extent that we can get the vaccine,” Hackert said.

Senior citizens age 65 and older who don’t want to put their personal information in on the county’s website can call the Valley Area Agency on Aging or their local senior center and provide them the information. That information will be passed along to the health department and people will be contacted directly from there.

Hackert said concerns over the seemingly slow rollout of the COVID-19 in Genesee County mirror concerns across Michigan. Health officials across the state are not receiving the number of vaccine doses that they request.

In Genesee County, the health department, sheriff’s department and county commissioners announced a task force Wednesday that will oversee the implementation and distribution of vaccines. The plan is to vaccinate people 80 and older, followed by those 65 and older.

“I joined the chatter about what was the plan? But prior to this task force being put together, because the new board of commissioners, that was the key is that the messaging wasn’t being put out like it should have been,” said Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson.

Part of the new plan, which is in the works as of Wednesday, will include an automatically generated email message from the health department indicating people’s information was received when they go to register for an appointment.

“They’ll at least have something in hand to let them know that they have been heard, because I think that has been a very big problem,” Hackert said.

Hackert is not sure when the new database will be up and running, but people can continue registering for the vaccine on the health department’s website. The appointment schedule is expected to be updated every Monday evening between 5 and 6 p.m.

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