Henry Ford Health System COO Bob Riney on Monday urged patients to “get vaccinated wherever you can get a deal” as the state mixes how it distributes COVID-19 vaccines in a push to reach Michiganders living in medically underserved areas that may not have access to health care.
This means that 41 federally qualified health centers in Michigan will be able to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics to people aged 65 and over starting this week, although details on how to sign up for a vaccine through one of these health centers, were not released.
Because vaccine supply is still so limited, it also means that hospital systems like Henry Ford, Michigan Medicine and Beaumont Health are not getting as many doses as they need to quickly immunize their patients.
All three health systems said Monday they can not schedule new first-dose appointments for patients 65 and older this week because they do not have enough supply.
Beaumont canceled 1,884 second-dose appointments scheduled for Thursday because it says it does not have enough of the Pfizer vaccine to give a shot in the arm to anyone in need of a boost and is working to restructure these appointments for next week.
The shift in vaccine distribution comes as state health officials also announced Monday that they were eligible for COVID-19 vaccines in Michigan will be extended to include:
- Workers in mortar services who routinely work with infectious materials.
- People aged 60 and over if the healthcare provider removes barriers to access to healthcare.
- As of March 1, about 79,000 Michiganders working in food processing and agricultural environments can be vaccinated.
“I am excited to announce initiatives that will help improve the state’s equity strategy and enable us to become more vulnerable Michiganders vaccinated,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, State Medical Chief and Deputy Generator of Health.
“Workers in higher-risk agricultural situations have been negatively affected by this pandemic. We also know that we need to remove barriers to vaccine access for our most vulnerable individuals in Michigan, including the disabled, lower income and race, and ethnic minorities. These steps will enable our federally qualified health centers across the state to begin vaccinating and will prioritize vaccine allocation to partnerships and providers that remove barriers to entry. “
Lynn Sutfin, a spokeswoman for the state health department, said health officials should split the state’s share of COVID-19 vaccines between state and local health departments, strains, hospitals, pharmacies and federally qualified health centers.
This week, Michigan’s allocation from the federal government is 278,000 doses in total, Sutfin said. Of these, 157,475 are earmarked as first doses and 120,525 are planned for use in the second dose.
The Michigan National Guard and state health officials worked together to ask local health departments and hospitals how many other doses of the vaccines would be needed, and have “worked with Beaumont Health in the past week to reconcile their second-dose deficiency.” she said. said.
“It is unfortunate that they chose to cancel second dose appointments while we continued to work with them on this issue.
“We are addressing any shortcomings in the second dose in the orders we place for dispatch this week. About 37,300 doses from the ‘first dose’ allocation will be used to ensure complete vaccination for people who need a second dose.”
Beaumont COO Carolyn Wilson said the hospital system was “disappointed that we had to cancel those appointments.
“Our team worked around the clock and all weekend with the state to try to secure the second dose of vaccine we requested. We remain committed to vaccinating patients as soon as possible as soon as we receive our assigned doses of vaccine.”
Beaumont has the capacity to vaccinate 50,000 people a week, but this week only 2,200 doses are received from the state.
“The state of Michigan is still not getting enough vaccine; and there are now more community-based distribution points in the mix, not just hospitals and health departments, but pharmacies and churches,” Wilson said. “Until we have more vaccine, everyone is doing the best they can with what they have.”
So far, Henry Ford has been able to get all the people who need a second dose their shots so far, but has seen his supply of vaccines reduced by approx. 50%, Riney said.
“We have been told … that it is a combination of pipeline problems in general and then the goal of also distributing to public health departments as well as some retail pharmacies so that we can meet a number of different communities in different ways,” he said.
“We have no problem with the distribution going to public health departments and pharmacies. The bottom line is that the net number is lower than we ideally want, and the state has worked very closely with us to try to do everything to increase supply line,” working with Washington, and I’m optimistic that we’ll see some increased supply within a few weeks. “
Some local health departments say they also feel squeezed.
“It looks like we’re getting week after week,” Macomb County Director Mark Hackel said, adding that people who want the vaccine are ‘angry at us’ because we don’t have it. “
This week, the county’s first dose allotment is 4,700 doses, less than the previous two weeks, and state health officials told him it was because hospitals were giving second doses of the vaccines as first doses.
He is opposed to expanding eligibility now – when so many people who want a vaccine still cannot get appointments – and is “shaken on behalf of seniors.”
Wayne County also received fewer initial doses of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines from the state this week, receiving a total of 5,900 – compared to 7,675 the week before. And Oakland County was expecting 18,000 doses this week, the majority of which are other doses, said Bill Mullan, spokesman for County Executive Dave Coulter.
The Washtenaw County Health Department received approximately the same amount of doses as previous weeks expressed in total doses, said spokeswoman Susan Ringler-Cerniglia.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said the city received a 15,000-dose allotment Monday, though he said he asked President Joe Biden for 25,000 weekly doses of the vaccines during his visit to the White House on Friday.
Duggan said he knows county officials in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb also want more doses of vaccine and that he would be open to turning the mass vaccination clinic in the TCF Center garage into a regional vaccination center, but there is still a gap in getting enough African Americans vaccinated.
Contact Kristen Shamus: [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @kristenshamus.
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