COVID-19 vaccination efforts ramp up in Mt. Pleasant and around the region

The vaccines they received, they administered.

821 of them, to be exact. That’s how many doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine MidMichigan Health administered last weekend, the health system’s first weekend in offering the immunizations.

The limited rollout of the COVID-19 vaccinations comes down to supply and demand, with the latter far outpacing the former.

That will change, says Jeff Meden, Regional Director of Operations for the MidMichigan Physicians Group. But for now, as the vaccines are released in waves, so too will be the clinics offering them.

Certified medical assistant Lorraine Farkas administers Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine to a patient. Beginning Thursday, Jan. 21, MidMichigan Health will again be offering COVID-19 vaccinations to those that are deemed eligible by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a group that includes essential workers and citizens aged 65 years and older.

Because the Pfizer vaccine requires special cold-temperature storage equipment, the vaccines will only be available at the properly outfitted MidMichigan Health locations in Alpena, Gladwin, Midland, and Mt. Pleasant.

Meden estimates that nurses will administer approximately 250 doses per day. It’s too early to say whether another round of vaccination clinics will open the following weekend — that all depends on supply — but Meden expects the clinics to be open seven-days-a-week sooner rather than later.

“I’m cautiously optimistic that this is going to bust open come February and we’ll get a lot more doses,” says Meden.

Because of the limited supply, MidMichigan Health has been restricting offerings of the vaccinations to current and former patients. That will change soon, Meden says, and MidMichigan will eventually invite those outside the health system to schedule their vaccinations, depending on eligibility requirements set by the CDC and availability of supply.

To meet those expected needs, MidMichigan Health is building an internal call center to ease scheduling efforts that could be completed as early as next week.

“This is a huge undertaking with the clinics and the call centers. We’re relying on staff to flex out of their current roles and we’re incentivizing them with extra overtime because we know how important this is,” says Meden.

“We’re hoping this is the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Visit MidMichigan Health online for more information about their COVID-19 vaccination program.

Got a development news story to share? Email MJ Galbraith here or send him a tweet @mikegalbraith.
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