MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. – The shipments of the Pfizer vaccine out of Portage set in motion the largest vaccination effort in American history.
Boxes of the vaccines were packed up and loaded onto UPS and FedEx trucks, which were escorted by U.S. Marshals past crowds of cheering spectators.
Nearly 3 million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to all 50 states.
Michigan will receive about 84,000 doses of the vaccine in the first round. They are being delivered to places that are capable of storing them at extremely low temperatures -- 48 hospitals and 12 different health departments.
County health departments will play a crucial role in making sure the vaccines get to their final locations.
Oakland and Washtenaw counties said they are expecting vaccines within the week, but aren’t sure which day.
Wayne County is holding a meeting Monday morning to discuss what’s next and Macomb County is expected to receive about 2,000 doses.
In November, Macomb County received its first freezer capable of keeping the vaccine stable until ready to thaw.
County executive Mark Hackel wants to make it clear who is getting the vaccine first so people won’t line up at hospitals -- it will be emergency medical service workers.
“We don’t want them standing at the doors waiting,” Hackel said.
Macomb County will also be storing and distributing for counties north of it -- Lapeer, St. Clair and Sanilac counties. Handling the vials for transport or preparing for a patient will take training.
“If it’s not done in a time frame, it’ll ruin that dose,” Hackel said.
Despite having some of the highest total confirmed cases of coronavirus in Michigan, Macomb County has one of the lowest growth rates in the state.
Macomb County officials are expecting its delivery of the vaccine midweek.
The U.S. has reached a turning point in the coronavirus pandemic after a COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized for widespread use by the national Food and Drug Administration (FDA).