While Governor Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced earlier today that the state is moving to a new phase of vaccination as of Monday, January 11th, the Berrien County Health Department is telling us they likely do not have the immediate supply to do that yet, and will stick to the current phase.
Health Department officials say that in communities that have an adequate supply of COVID-19 vaccines, local health departments and healthcare systems have been authorized to move forward with vaccination of residents age 65 and older, frontline essential workers including police officers, first responders, jail and juvenile center staff; and preK-12 teachers and childcare providers beginning Monday.
However, local officials report that, “At this time, Berrien County does not have the immediate vaccine supply to support vaccination for all individuals in these groups,” and adds, “In order to make the most efficient use of the limited supply of vaccine that is allocated to Berrien County from MDHHS, Berrien County Health Department (BCHD) will be continuing to focus on vaccinating those in Phase 1A while also adding in additional priority groups when possible.”
Berrien officials add that while vaccine supplies are still very limited, there are robust plans in place to continue expanding vaccine clinic opportunities in the coming weeks to accommodate additional priority populations. At this time, clinics are by invite-only and are not walk-in vaccination clinics open to the general public.
In coordination with MDHHS and hospital partners at Spectrum Health Lakeland, planning is ongoing to increase vaccine availability for the next phase of priority populations in Berrien County. Officials conclude, “While not yet launched at this time, the Berrien County Health Department plans to have a pre-registration process for individuals to indicate their interest in receiving the vaccine. BCHD urges the community to remain patient as efforts are ongoing to ensure adequate vaccine availability for all those who are interested. More information will be released about a pre-registration process and vaccine appointment availability as soon as possible.”