With more coronavirus vaccines heading to Michigan, counties continue to gear up to start phase 1B, which allows first responders, teachers, childcare providers, and residents 65 and older to get vaccinated.
"In Genesee County, we have been having difficulty getting vaccines from the state and the state has been having difficulty getting them from the federal government," Genesee County Commissioner Mark Young said.
Young said a task force is in full gear to get the county vaccinated. The team is composed of commissioners, the sheriff’s department, and the health department. Their mission is to inform the public about the vaccine process. Right now, the county is out of vaccines.
"Genesee County has received the sixth lowest number of vaccine doses when adjusted to per population. This is the sixth lowest in Michigan to 83 counties," Young said.
Young said that's despite having the fourth highest number of COVID-19 deaths in the state. This week, the health department said the 975 doses the county did get are already spoken for.
Task force member and Sheriff Chris Swanson said he's confident the county will get more, and his department will be a part of creating a seamless response to giving them out. His advice is to have patience.
"We are going slow to go fast. And there’s a term you may have heard either local or state or national that eligibility doesn't always mean availability. We can only do what we can do, but we are not letting any vaccine sit on the shelf," Swanson said.
The health department expects more vaccines to be become available very quickly. Especially since the federal government granted Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s request for more.
The health department said they are working with local agencies on being able to get people 65 and older the information they need to make an appointment in the future when the vaccines arrive.
"We hope to see the trends change and we see a dramatic increase in the amount of vaccines received,” Young said.