Grand Traverse Co. Opens Mass-Vaccination Clinic
"Today is day one of our community mass-vaccination site."
Traverse City is opening its first mass-vaccination clinic. The Grand Traverse County Health Department is partnering with Northwestern Michigan College, to host the clinics at the Great Lakes Campus.
Setting up at the NMC Hagerty Center allows for more social distancing – and more people in and out – than they could accommodate at the Health Department. Mike Lahey is the Grand Traverse Co. Health Department’s Emergency Preparedness Director. “Today is day one. It’s a big day for us. By really being able to offer a large amount of vaccine to the community, daily and weekly.”
The appointment book just opened on Friday – and time slots for this week are already full. Patricia Roggen is from Interlochen. She and her husband were checking the health department’s website throughout the day on Friday, waiting for appointments to open. “At 4:06 he went on and we made our appointments that fast. And we were so excited.”
Health officials expect to administer more than two thousand doses the first week. Lahey says, “It’s a logistical lift that is taxing on local health departments across the state. But again we couldn’t do it by ourselves.” It all depends on the supply they receive, but the Grand Traverse Health Dept. says they expect to distribute 2,100 vaccines this week, with a goal of 2,500-3,000 each week after that. “We’re still dependent on a cadence with the state and delivery of vaccine. And it will always be contingent on the quantity of vaccine we receive from the state of Michigan right now.”
It’s a 20 minute process for anyone getting the vaccine – they want to make sure no one suffers any unusual, immediate side effects. Roggen says, “I feel great. My arm doesn’t even hurt like sometimes with the flu shot. It was easy. It was stress-free.” Chuck Bond from Maple City agreed. “I feel fine. No different than any other shot I’ve ever had. Just a little poke. I feel as well now as I did when I came in.”
And those we talked with say they are glad they’ve done it. Bond says, “I think it’s a smart thing to do to get the vaccine. To protect myself and protect others.”
It’s very personal for Roggen. “I feel like I’ve been safe, but I just feel like maybe like I can go see my daughter sometime in Florida. And hug my grandkids, and have a life.”
The Health Department will continue to update available appointments as the vaccine supply warrants.