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Wide COVID vaccine availability still months away for Washtenaw County residents, health official says

County has 13 cases of more highly contagious COVID-19 variant

DETROIT – On Tuesday, President Joe Biden announced that his administration plans on purchasing 200 million more doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.

But many people do not want to wait a long period before getting the vaccine. Some health officials in Washtenaw County are looking at a timeline of months and not weeks.

The Washtenaw County Health Department says the region is still in phase 1A for COVID vaccines. That means it is still working on vaccinations for health care workers.

Michigan COVID-19 vaccinations: How to find appointments, info on phases

People 65 and older, plus essential workers are being phased in and giving them the shot could take until spring or even summer.

“Unless something changes drastically we are looking into the spring until it is more widely available,” said Susan Ringler-Cerniglia with the Washtenaw County Health Department.

That means if you are younger than 65 it may be summer before your chances at getting the COVID-19 vaccine arrives in the county.

The issue is the limited supply of the vaccine. Currently, the county is getting just under 2,000 doses per week.

“At this point none of that is enough. We know that it is frustrating. We and the others, we are doing the best we can, being speedy and equitable, but it is going to take months to work through this eligible group,” said Ringler-Cerniglia.

Also, the county has 13 cases of the more highly contagious COVID-19 variant. Isolating those cases and doing contact tracing is taking time.

Read more: New COVID variant in Michigan: 13 cases in Washtenaw County, 4 cases in Wayne County

Then there is the issue of people trying to jump the vaccine line.

“At the end of the day, we have to trust people to be honest. We ask for age and ID very simple. We do ask for paperwork on that. We are doing the best we can. We are not able to catch every instance,” said Ringler-Cerniglia.

The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Michigan has risen to 552,556 as of Tuesday, including 14,405 deaths, state officials report.

Tuesday’s update includes 1,476 new cases and 79 additional deaths -- 44 from a vital records review.

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