GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s announcement opening up COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to those 50 and older will require the ramp up local health officials have been waiting for.
The mass vaccination clinic at DeVos Place is one of the venues that the 50 and older crowd can start signing up for.
But will the clinic be ready for the potential onslaught?
The answer, according to those in charge, is yes. They just need the vaccine.
Since they opened the clinic doors on DeVos Place Jan. 25, over 35,000 people have received at least one dose of a vaccine.
The capacity at DeVos Place is 40,000 a day.
Of the 50-plus age group categories that will be eligible for the vaccination starting next Monday, about 60% are expected to sign up.
If you’re eligible, you still may have to wait, but not because of a lack or planning or organization.
About 127,000 people are on the current waiting list, though not all of them are eligible for this or the next round.
The big unknown is the vaccine supply.
Along with the regular shipments of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the state is expected to receive over 82,000 doses of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
That number of doses that will be available for DeVos Place won’t be known until the end of the week.
“We work very closely … we communicate multiple times a week with the state. And we communicate what our availability is and let them know we will deliver as much vaccine as you give us,” said Chad Tuttle, senior vice president of hospital operations for Spectrum Health West Michigan.
DeVos Place was chosen partly because of the size and layout.
They also have had had enough staff working the clinic. About 4,000 volunteers have signed up to help with the effort. Though they could use more volunteers who have medical skills.
“So licensed nurses, pharmacists and other health care professionals who have the skill set, the training and the licenser to be able to deliver vaccine doses,” Tuttle said.
If you’re interested in volunteering at the clinic, you can sign up online.