MUSKEGON, Mich. (WOOD) — As more and more vaccines are produced, counties are starting to roll out dosages in large numbers.
This weekend for the first time in West Michigan, there will be a walk-in clinic.
In Muskegon, anyone 60 or older will become eligible for a walk-up shot on Saturday. No appointment is needed as long as the person lives or works in Muskegon County.
The Muskegon County Department of Public Health is working hard to prioritize this age group before vaccines open up to a wider audience in April.
Jackie Farnquist, 81, was talked into getting the vaccine by her children. She’s signed up online for the vaccine but has been waiting for a while before one has become available.
“Well, I kept saying, no, I wasn’t going to get it. And I have four boys, three of them told me, ‘Mom, you got to get this.’ I said, ‘why?’ I live by myself so … I don’t like to make decisions like that without some help,” Farnquist said.
The vaccine clinic will distribute 2,000 doses to eligible seniors and their spouses or domestic partners regardless of age. Muskegon County Health Officer Kathy Moore says this is just another way the county is hoping to make the process even easier.
“We don’t want them to have to make two trips and two schedules. So, if one of the partners are eligible, then they both are,” Moore said. “We feel like we’ve covered a lot of people. But before we move on to the next age group, we wanted to do this one last. Anybody out there who’s been waiting or even if you changed your mind and you want to get in ahead of these younger age groups, come on down.”
Many seniors, like Franquist, are still on the fence when it comes to the vaccine.
“I guess I’m a little leery about it because you don’t know what’s in these vaccines. And I wouldn’t really want to take it and then have something happen to me because otherwise, I’m in pretty good health,” Farnquist said. “The kids have just been urging me, I know they’ll be very upset if something happens to me from this because I would not have gotten the vaccine if they didn’t want me to.”
To help ease some of this stress and address any last-minute questions, the county will have educators on scene to help.
“The whole COVID crisis has created fatigue and some emotional well-being challenges. So, we’re going to have professional staff from our HealthWest Behavioral Health clinic there to just assist with questions and even other concerns or unreadiness related to COVID-19,” Moore said. “We hope this can be a teaching moment, not only for those being vaccinated, but also for students because this will be held at Muskegon Community College. We are also partnering with the school and their security staff as well as. We’ve notified the local municipal police. But we really don’t expect trouble with that age group. So, we’re hoping that this is an experience that even the students at the college could partake in — to be vaccinators, to be observers, to help with paperwork.”
The walk-in COVID-19 vaccine clinic will be held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 221 S. Quarterline Road. The clinic could end early if the allotted 2,000 Pfizer vaccines are used before then.
A second walk-in clinic will be held in three weeks at the same location for those vaccinated to receive their second dose.
All that’s required is a face mask, valid ID and attendance for the follow-up clinic.
“We’re just going to take care of the whole thing. It’s going to be at least a 15-minute observation period, but other than that, just come as you are,” Moore said.
Farnquist stopped just shy of saying she’s excited.
“If it will protect me, yes. But I’m not excited about it,” Farnquist said.