By Mike Kruzman & Jon King /

The chair of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners says even utilizing the Social Vulnerability Index, or SVI, he believes the county is still being shorted its fair share of COVID vaccine.

Livingston County Health Department Director Diane McCormick made her regular vaccination update to the Board of Commissioners during their online meeting, Monday. She said 16% of Livingston County residents have received at least a first dose of vaccine versus 20.9% of all Michiganders. With seniors, however, Livingston County is further behind the curb. 54.5% of adults 65-and-up in Michigan have been vaccinated versus 39.4% in-county.

The state moving to using SVI to determine allocations foreshadowed this, but Board Chair Wes Nakagiri suggested the county is being even further shorted. Nakagiri gave a report based off his analysis of state data on COVID vaccine distribution and the social vulnerability index. While the SVI dictates that Livingston County receive the fewest vaccines, Nakagiri reports that the county is being allocated even fewer than what the index dictates. He showed 10 counties that have shorted, with Livingston County being shorted the 7th largest amount: 12,455. Neighboring Washtenaw and Oakland counties have similar SVI scores, to which Nakagiri said means that all 3 counties should, with population adjustments, be getting the same amount. Yet, while Livingston County has received fewer than it should, Oakland County has been shipped a 98,000 vaccine surplus and Washtenaw has been shipped an extra 62,000.

However, federal health officials say the SVI strategy is being used as statistics bear out that minority populations have had higher rates of infections and deaths from COVID-19, and that their employment and housing circumstances tend to put them in situations in which the virus is more easily transmitted. For that reason, they say that distribution plans that focus solely on age do not target those who are most at risk.

McCormick said the county is getting a base allocation of 1,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine per shipment. While they may receive more, that is the base they are using for planning future clinics. She was also excited about a partnership with Chilson Hills Church where they can vaccinate up to 1,800 residents when supplies allow, and was optimistic about another partnership with Huron Meadows Metropark for a mass drive-thru clinic. McCormick said Kroger is being added to the pharmacy program for direct shipments from the CDC like Meijer and Rite-Aid.

The county is scheduled to soon receive 1,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson one-dose vaccine, which McCormick said will be administered on Monday. She doesn’t expect another shipment of that brand until the end of March.

With the state opening up more groups of people, she said their phones are ringing off the hook, but they will continue to prioritize seniors until that need is satisfied.