Midland County begins first of four COVID-19 mass vaccine clinics
Organizers hope to vaccinate 4,000 people at the Midland Center for the Arts this week
MIDLAND, Mich. (WJRT) - From proms canceled to not being to hang out with friends, high school students have felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic by missing rites of passage.
But starting Monday, anyone 16 and older in Michigan is eligible to be vaccinated for COVID-19. The Midland Center for the Arts hosted a mass vaccination clinic Monday for people age 16 and older.
About 1,000 Midland County residents signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine at the clinic and many of them were teenagers. It’s not how Taylor Sanborn envisioned spending her senior year at Midland High School.
“It’s definitely been difficult. Honestly, it’s just made me more grateful for the things that I have gotten to experience. It’s definitely made me appreciate the things I considered normal normal before,” she said.
A chance for a return to normalcy is why Sanborn and her mom came out to a mass COVID-19 vaccine clinic at the Midland Center for the Arts. The 17-year-old Sanborn received her first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.
“To be able to help protect those around me and myself and hopefully just bring everyone back to enjoy the simple things that we haven’t gotten to enjoy I think was the biggest motivator for me,” she said.
Amy Sanborn said her entire family contracted COVID-19 in November, so she saw the vaccine as an important step in keeping the family healthy.
“My husband and I both got our first dose a couple of weeks ago of the Moderna vaccine and I was really happy that Taylor made the choice to come here today,” she said.
Amy Sanborn said it has been difficult watching Taylor miss the traditional rites of passage for high school seniors.
“Whether it’s been dances, homecoming, all that stuff. And so yeah, I just thought it gives the best chance to hopefully have a graduation, some open houses and getting a little bit back to normal,” Amy Sanborn said.
Taylor hopes by getting vaccinated Monday she can help make sure the next senior class gets to experience the many events she will not see before graduating.
“I didn’t feel pressure at all to get it. I think it’s a really personal choice,” she said. “And I saw some classmates here today so that was really awesome, but I think it’s just something that people come to in their own time and that’s totally OK.”
Three more COVID-19 vaccination clinics are planned at the Midland Center for the Arts this week and are open to anyone, including residents from outside Midland County.
“There’s lots of supply now. We are kind of at that stage where it’s logistically appropriate,” Walgreens Pharmacist Tom Krupnek said. “If you’re eligible, you can get it. You should get it, don’t wait your turn anyone, your turn is now.”
He said Monday’s eligibility expansion to include all adults in Michigan is a big step in the fight against COVID-19.
“We can slow down the spread by getting into the general population,” Krupnek said. “Once the general population starts getting vaccinated we can really clamp that spreading down, so it doesn’t spread as fast or quickly.”
Walgreens, McLaren Health Care and the Midland County Health Department are helping organize the clinics in Midland this week. Organizers hope to vaccinate 4,000 people there by the end of this week.
“The seamless transition, our facility was set up really well for this this type of partnership. And so to be able to work with our healthcare providers and to be able to bring the access to the vaccine to not only Midland County, but the rural communities around it that it what we are here for,” said Josh Holliday of the Midland Center.
Click here for information about how to sign up for the Midland vaccine clinics. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are approved for anyone age 16 or older while the Johnson & Johnson vaccine is limited to adults age 18 or older.
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