First Washtenaw County Health Department staff receive COVID-19 vaccinations

Christina Zilke, a nurse supervisor and clinic vaccinator, receives her COVID-19 vaccination. (Washtenaw County Health Department)

YPSILANTI, Mich. – Staff at Washtenaw County Health Department received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Friday.

“I’m so excited to be vaccinated, and I don’t have to wait because it’s my job to vaccinate others,” said Christina Zilke, registered nurse and nursing supervisor with Washtenaw County Health Department in a release.

The Health Department received an initial supply of 1,950 doses of the Pfizer Inc./BioNTech vaccine.

Among the first to be the vaccination were staff members preparing for when they will give the vaccine to others.

READ: First Michigan Medicine employees receive COVID-19 vaccine

Nurse practitioner Cathy Wilczynski vaccinates Washtenaw County Health Department medical director Juan Marquez (left) and emergency preparedness administrator Cindra James (right). (Washtenaw County Health Department)

“We’re feeling both grateful and optimistic as we begin this vaccination process,” said Jimena Loveluck, MSW, health officer for Washtenaw County in the release. “This pandemic is an incredible strain on all of us and devastating to so many in our community. Adding vaccination to our prevention tools is a big step toward recovery and, eventually, normalcy.”

“It will take time – likely weeks for the initial phase and months for vaccination to be more widely available. In the meantime, please continue to use what we know works for preventing the spread of illness – wearing face masks, keeping social distance, frequent hand cleaning, and following isolation and quarantine guidelines.”

Vaccinators, emergency medical services, those working in long-term care facilities and frontline health care providers not vaccinated through larger organizations are among those prioritized in Phase 1A, according to the Washtenaw County Health Department.

Priority groups for vaccination have been created according to state guidelines, which are based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and recommendations from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. An advisory committee for the CDC, ACIP is made up of public health and medical experts who deliver recommendations on vaccine use in the United States.

Phases for the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the CDC and ACIP:

  • Phase 1A includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home, as well as residents of long-term care facilities.
  • Phase 1B includes workers in essential and critical industries, including workers with unique skill sets such as non-hospital or non-public health laboratories and mortuary services.
  • Phase 1C includes people at high risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to underlying medical conditions, and people 65 years and older.
  • Phase 2 is a mass vaccination campaign for all adults.

Learn more about the Health Department’s COVID-19 vaccination plan here.

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About the Authors:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.