DETROIT – The Wayne County Public Health Division is set to receive 8,375 first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Although that number is a big difference from the 4,350 doses the county received in its last shipment, there’s still a major shortage. With that said, this shipment’s priority will be those in the classroom.
“We are pretty much devoting the vast majority of the supply to start with our educators starting next week,” said Wayne County Chief Operating Officer, Genelle Allen.
In just a few days, nearly all 8,375 newly received doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will be going into the arms of educators in Wayne County.
“It’ll still take us probably somewhere between four to five weeks to vaccinate because we actually have over 20,000 educators who registered in our Wayne County,” Allen added.
But Wayne County is still technically in Phase 1A, which covers independent necessary health care workers -- a group of 18,000 registered residents in the county.
“We’re about a third of the way there. But we recognize that the governor said that she would like all schools to be back in person by March 1, so we figured that we needed to really ramp up and expedite,” Allen said. “We’re getting to our educators.”
While for educators, this may be great news, seniors like 68-year-old Debbie Pettitt are still patiently waiting for their turn to get the vaccine -- even though countless others have already been vaccinated.
“I would think that teachers should have priority over me,” Pettitt said. “But it’s still discouraging to have so many people in my social circle already have vaccines and have received second invitations. And I don’t get anywhere.”
Especially considering the fact that Pettitt has multiple chronic heart and lung conditions.
“I would hope that it would put me and many people like me at the top of the list, but it doesn’t seem to be prioritized in any way,” Pettitt added.
Regardless, Allen said Pettitt’s time will eventually come along with others who are in a similar situation.
“We just have a lot of people who are in that very high category that are competing with such a small number of supplies,” Allen concluded.
Allen also said that while her team has not been pleased with the amount of dosages received compared to other counties, the 8,375 doses are said to be a step in the right direction.
Evans said he met with state officials in Lansing Thursday because the Wayne County Public Health Division reportedly received fewer vaccines than health departments in other, less populated counties.
The disparity in vaccine allotment was slowing Wayne County’s efforts to vaccinate health providers, educators, and other high-priority essential workers under the state’s Phase 1A and Phase 1B distribution plan, Evans said.
Under an agreement between Wayne County and local health systems, county residents 65 years of age and older are being vaccinated through those health systems.
”I will continue to press the state of Michigan until the Wayne County Public Health Division receives the amount of vaccine required to meet the needs of its residents,” Evans said.
More information on Wayne County’s vaccination program can read on its official website here.