As COVID-19 vaccine arrives at MidMichigan Health, Weidman nurse is first recipient

This week, the COVID-19 vaccine was delivered to MidMichigan Medical Center – Midland, the flagship hospital of MidMichigan Health. The first to receive the vaccine in the Great Lakes Bay Region, 2,925 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were delivered to the Medical Center’s loading dock Wednesday morning and just a few short hours later, the first vaccine was given to a front line health care worker.


That staff member was AJ Schafer, R.N., a medical ICU nurse, of Weidman, Michigan. “This is an exciting time. It’s a new start for everyone,” says Schafer. “I think the vaccine will help alleviate the fear of the common cold, even allergies, the ‘what ifs.’ The vaccine gives us confidence, and as more people get vaccinated, we can help alleviate those fears. It gives us hope.”


Following Schafer’s vaccination, an additional four front line health care workers were next in line followed by 35 members of the health system’s vaccination team. In addition, a supply of doses was taken to MidMichigan Medical Center – Alpena for distribution.

Beginning Thursday, Dec. 17, the vaccination team will roll-out a series of employee and provider clinics held in Alpena, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Midland, Mt. Pleasant, and West Branch. Those receiving the vaccine will include employees from the Emergency Departments, ICU, EMS, medical and COVID floors. In the coming weeks additional employee groups will be vaccinated based on the health system’s prioritization process.


“This has been an incredible day. Our biggest goal with the vaccine is to encourage as many people to receive the vaccine so that we can help to end this pandemic,” says Lydia Watson, M.D., chief medical officer and senior vice president, MidMichigan Health. “We believe in the vaccine and the science behind it. We encourage our communities to educate themselves about the vaccine and how it will help us to fight COVID-19. We recommend getting the vaccine when it is offered to you.”

Related Story: MidMichigan Health’s Dr. Lydia Watson addresses COVID-19 vaccine concerns amid delivery preparations