AARP: Michigan Seniors Frustrated Over Vaccine Access
February 3, 2021
By Jon King / firstname.lastname@example.org
Michigan is ahead of most states in its COVID-19 vaccination work, but one advocacy group says there's still a long way to go.
More than 1 million doses have been administered so far, the seventh-most among states. Right now, health-care providers, educators and other front-line essential workers can be vaccinated, along with people age 65 and older.
Melissa Seifert, associate state director of government affairs at AARP Michigan, said vaccine appointments are available through local health departments. However, she noted that with such high demand, time slots are in short supply and the online system can be glitchy.
"We're hearing from our members the frustration, the confusion," she said. "It's such an exciting time to know that we came out with the vaccine, that there's light at the end of this tunnel. But yet, the access to it is really what's holding people back and making them worry."
The state is averaging roughly 30,000 shots per day, with a goal to reach 50,000. In Livingston County, the health department is administering COVID-19 vaccine to individuals who work or live within the county, based on priority groups determined by the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and subject to vaccine availability. A sign-up form is available on their website.
Meanwhile, the St. Joseph Mercy Health System, which operates St. Joe Livingston Hospital in Howell and the St. Joe Brighton Medical Center, posted on Tuesday that they “Like most health systems in Michigan,” had received very limited vaccine doses this week, and much less than was requested across their eight-hospital health system. However, St. Joe officials say they have enough doses to meet their existing scheduled appointments this week, including necessary second doses.
Seifert said AARP has made it a priority to ensure the vaccine is available to older adults, who are at increased risk of complications from COVID-19. She noted that vaccine distribution has revealed the challenges some older adults have with internet access.
"We're really looking at what this year looks like as far as educating our members," she said. "In the world of virtual, how do we go back to educating with paper or with tele-town halls, or with more of a user-friendly-type platform?"
Michigan has roughly 1,800 new COVID-19 cases a day, but has seen a steady decline in cases since the post-holiday-season spike. On Tuesday, Michigan’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, told the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee that by the end of this month she expects all of the staff and residents at the state's 4,400 long-term care facilities, including nursing and assisted living homes, will have had the opportunity to get at least their first dose of the vaccine.
Like most health systems in Michigan, St. Joe's has received very limited vaccine doses this week, and much less than we...Posted by Saint Joseph Mercy Health System on Tuesday, February 2, 2021
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