KENT COUNTY, MI — The coronavirus vaccine distribution is opening up beyond healthcare workers next week after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer expanded eligibility for essential workers like teachers and first responders, along with all Michiganders over the age of 65.
Kent County will open registrations for vaccines starting 1 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8. Vaccination for those outside of the Phase 1A group will begin Monday, Jan. 11.
West Michigan health departments and health systems will begin accepting registration for vaccinations today at 1 p.m. via www.vaccinatewestmi.com/register.
Counties accepting registrations include Allegan, Berrien, Ionia, Kent, Muskegon and Ottawa in addition to surrounding health systems.
Despite vaccine production happening in Kalamazoo County, the health department does not have enough supply to widen eligibility at this time. The county has invited organizations with workers in the 1B phase of essential workers to fill out an informational form in advance of the vaccine being expanded beyond the first phase.
Related: Supply the limiting factor for coronavirus vaccinations, even in Kalamazoo County where it is made
The State has opened vaccinations for the following people:
- All people 65 years of age or older not covered in Phase 1A. This includes those in a congregate setting who were not reached in Phase 1A.
- Prioritized frontline workers whose job requires frequent or intense exposure to others, and who, due to the nature of their work, are not able to maintain social distance. For example, a first responder may have to physically touch other people in their response, and a childcare provider cannot maintain social distance from children when caring for their physical needs.
Specific prioritized categories under “prioritized frontline workers” include:
- Pre-Kindergarten through high school teachers, support staff and childcare workers who usually have direct contact with children
- First responders not covered in Phase 1A (e.g., firefighters, police, conservation officers, inspectors)
- Corrections workers (e.g., staff in prisons, jails, juvenile justice facilities)
- Workers in homeless shelters, congregate childcare institutions, and adult and child protective services
Health departments warn that individuals registering should expect that appointments may not be available for several weeks as vaccine supplies are limited and Phase 1A is still in progress.
Individuals must receive a second dose 21-28 days after their initial vaccination, and it must be from the same manufacturer. Health providers are stressing that individuals who are vaccinated schedule an appointment at the same location for both doses.
There are no out of pocket costs for consumers to receive the vaccine; however, those with health insurance will be asked to provide that information.
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