KALAMAZOO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Kalamazoo County health department has started vaccinating people over the age of 65 against COVID-19, on Tuesday holding its first clinic for the group.
The appointment-only clinic was held at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center, which has already been used as a hub to vaccinate health care workers and first responders.
Frances DeYoung, 99, was the first person of the day to get the shot.
“It didn’t hurt a bit and was real easy,” she said.
She was not the oldest recipient, however. That honor went to Agnes Bennink, who turns 102 in March. Both encouraged others not to be afraid to get vaccinated.
“I would say don’t be. It makes you feel safe and that’s one thing that we want is to protect others from getting it,” DeYoung said.
Darrell Plough, a retired Pfizer worker of 33 years, said he was grateful to get the vaccine that is being made just a short drive away in Portage. He had been looking forward to his appointment.
“Like everybody, when the pandemic started out, I figured, ‘Well, it’s not going to be that big of deal,’ but we all know it is now,” he said. “I wanted to get a vaccine ever since they started talking about them.”
His wife Rosslind Plough said they know some people who have appointments but many are still not sure when they will be vaccinated.
“My friends really want it and need it. They have grandchildren and stuff like that they would like to see, so yeah, they’re really worried about it taking so long,” Rosslind Plough said.
Health Officer Jim Rutherford said the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services Department is ready to scale up vaccinations using drive-thru clinics — if the supply of doses increases.
“I’ve got the facility, I’ve got the human resources, we’ve got the supplies, we’ve got the scheduling system and we have a lot of participants — over 20,000 people — that have pre-registered for this. What we really need is a ready and available supply of vaccine from the federal government,” Rutherford said.
Dianne Anderson, who was able to get an appointment Tuesday, hopes the vaccine will allow her to soon see her great-great-grandson. She wants to get back to hosting big family dinners on Sundays.
“I’m so thankful that we had this vaccine and I pray that everyone in our community will take it and will not be reluctant to take it; that they will be just as excited as I am to take it,” Anderson said.
If you are eligible for the vaccine, you can pre-register on the Kalamazoo County Health and Community Services website. Bronson Healthcare is also offering the COVID19 vaccine; you can learn more about its vaccination efforts on its website.