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Covid 19

Northern Michigan Health Departments Discuss Expanded Vaccine Eligibility

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The state announced plans Wednesday to expand vaccine eligibility starting on Monday.

That’s when anyone 50 years or older with a medical condition or disability becomes eligible.

More Michiganders will soon be eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccination.

Local health departments say more vaccine supply and shrinking waiting lists were two of the main reasons behind the move by the state.

“It was getting very difficult, if you were trying to fill a 400 shot clinic, you might have to contact 800 people to fill it just because people got it elsewhere or they signed up on multiple lists,” said Steve Hall, Health Officer with the Central Michigan District Health Department.

More providers are also giving the vaccine across the state.

“Even before the announcement from the state we were making plans to expand a little further so that we could continue that constant flow of the vaccine into our community. We do anticipate there will be an uptick in demand as there has been each time we’ve opened an additional eligible group, but we know there has been a big shift in demand and supply over the last couple of weeks,” said Lisa Peacock, Health Officer with the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

And some local health departments will also open vaccine appointments up to anyone 50 and older starting Monday, even if they don’t have an underlying condition or disability.

“There is the ability for a little bit of local prioritization in addition to the prioritization the state is doing to best serve our local communities,” said Peacock.

“We’re starting to see more vaccine every week which is just a huge positive, and that’s just going to allow us to keep vaccinating quicker, and the more vaccine we get and the quicker we get it done, the more we’ll keep opening up those priority groups and get it to the greater population,” said Hall.