State Focusing On Shifting COVID-19 Vaccine Allotments With Demand
Northwest Michigan Health Services announced Wednesday they had a surplus of vaccines that needed to be claimed by Saturday.
It’s an issue becoming more common in rural areas, while other parts of the state don’t have nearly enough.
But unlike other parts of the state like Southeast Michigan where there’s such a high demand and not enough supply, NMHSI had more supply than demand. It has been a struggle for them to make sure to get enough people, from the area, to get the shots in arms and not let them go to waste.
“It hasn’t been a significant problem,” said Kerry Ebersole-Singh of the Protect Michigan Commission, “But it’s definitely something we are mindful of.”
Governor Gretchen Whitmer says amidst spiking cases, that more restrictions aren’t the way forward, vaccines are.
When local health departments are close to throwing surplus doses away because they can’t find arms to put them in, it raises concerns.
“We are actually reaching out to patients within NMHSI, calling those patients, letting them know,” said Alicia Harmon of NMHSI, “That we do have some vaccines that are available if they’re willing to come in.”
NMHSI will find the arms and not waste a dose but they say their biggest issue is people finding them.
“Unfortunately it’s not a centralized system in terms of registering and getting scheduled,” said Ebersole-Singh.
The state’s first move to fill these demand gaps was to expand eligibility.
“Which we hope will again increase and infuse demand for vaccines,” said Ebersole-Singh.
As some parts struggle to keep up, allotment schedules may shift. Away from rural areas to urban areas unless more Northern Michiganders step up for their shots.
“We know where every dose has been allocated in the state of Michigan,” said Ebersole-Singh, “Where it’s allocated, when it’s scheduled and when it gets into an arm.”