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Duplicate COVID-19 vaccine registries causing problems for health officials

Published: Mar. 3, 2021 at 7:09 PM EST
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BAY COUNTY, Mich. (WJRT) - In the race to vaccinate people against COVID-19, more and more providers are expected to offer the three FDA-approved vaccines.

But more providers can also mean more work for health departments. The Bay County Health Department is asking people to remove themselves from other registries if they’ve already received their vaccine.

“One of the problems we’re facing right now -- and it’s both a good problem and bad problem -- there are a number of new providers in the community,” said Bay County Health Officer Joel Strasz.

Each provider like Walgreens, Meijer and Rite Aid and others have their own separate registries for the COVID-19 vaccine. More than likely, people are signing up wherever they can with the hopes of getting the vaccine quicker.

“Right now, based on the current classification, for every one senior that we call, two have already gotten their vaccine,” Strasz said.

Because there is no central vaccination registry database, there’s no way of knowing whether someone received their vaccine from another provider.

“It’s very much time intensive and time consuming,” Strasz said. “Every county has to deal with their own particular registry, plus they have the pharmacies and other providers that have their own particular registry, and none of that information is being shared right now. And there’s no comprehensive way we can merge all of those together.”

Strasz is asking Bay County residents who received their vaccine from another provider to call the health department’s COVID-19 hotline or email the department to cancel their registration. He said that will help the Bay County Health Department get in touch quicker with others who have not yet been vaccinated.

“We could be in a situation where there was no vaccine, so I would rather contend with a problem like this than contend with being in a situation where there’s absolutely no vaccine,” Strasz said.

For Bay County residents, call the health department at 989-308-1828 or email BCHD@baycounty.net with the subject line “Cancel my appointment or registration” to be removed from the county’s vaccine database. Include a name, date of birth and phone number in any messages.

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