Metro Detroit health departments brace for new wave of COVID-19 vaccine demand

State expands eligibility to 50 and older with preexisting conditions, disabilities starting March 8

Local health departments brace for new wave of COVID vaccine demand

With Michigan set to expand who can get the COVID-19 vaccine next week, local health departments, which are already struggling to make sure those most at-risk get vaccinated, will have more on their plate.

“There’s been a lot of frustration along the way, and I think a lot of it has been due to the fact there has been a lot of working together with the health departments,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel.

READ: Michigan to expand COVID-19 vaccine plan to include residents age 50 and older

Hackel has been a critic of the state’s vaccine rollout. He said Macomb County can do as many vaccinations as the entire state is doing daily, but the supply has been limited. With adding more people to list, he said his health department will be stretched even more thinly.

“Our health departments have been cautioning against this for the past several months, begging for more vaccines. Again, it’s a challenge,” Hackel said.

Other local officials seemed confident that they could handle the influx of hopeful vaccine recipients. Detroit’s Chief of Public Health Denise Fair suggested that it would be business as usual for the city.

“We will update our eligibility requirement once a week, which we did yesterday,” Fair said. “We will expect another eligibility announcement next week.”

“The significant increase in vaccine supply to our state this week is an encouraging sign that we will be able to vaccinate 70% of our adult population more quickly than originally planned,” said Brian Peters, CEO of Michigan Health & Hospital Association.

Officials with Wayne, Oakland and Washtenaw county health departments could not be reached for comment. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services also could not be reached.


About the Author:

Grant comes to Local 4 from Oklahoma City. He joins the news team as co-anchor of Local 4 News Today weekend mornings and is a general assignment reporter.