Officials: 65+ have vaccine priority over younger groups

COVID-19 Vaccine

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Wednesday’s announcement that more people will soon be eligible for COVID-19 vaccines has created some concern for those still waiting to receive their shots.

Health care workers in Michigan inoculated the first patients back in December. Since then, the Kent County Health Department says they have administered about 110,000 vaccines to about 15% of the county.

Several viewers wrote News 8 Wednesday saying they’ve been awaiting the chance to get a COVID-19 vaccine for several weeks with no luck.

“People want this to happen much quicker and so do I, and it can as soon as we have more vaccine,” said Dr. Adam London with the Kent County Health Department. “I would just encourage people, please remain calm as we are doing as much as we can to roll this out to everyone.”

Currently, there are about 127,000 registered with the West Michigan Vaccine Clinic.

London says once there is enough vaccine, they hope to do away with the phasing system. Until that time comes, they say they plan to continue working through waitlists.

They say while people over 50 with preexisting conditions will become eligible Monday, they plan to continue prioritizing those who have been waiting longest.

“We still have many people on group 1A or in that top part of group 1B, so we are still working to prioritize them,” London said.

The Allegan County Health Department says they are not ready to move on to the latest group yet.

“We still expect another three weeks before we can begin scheduling vaccine appointments of this new eligibility group,” said Allegan County Health Officer Angelique Joynes.

Joynes says there are at least 4,000 people over age of 65 who registered for appointments and are still waiting. She says they will continue to be the first priority.

Both departments say they’re hoping those waiting will continue being patient.

“I know it’s frustrating for a lot of people, but I would just like to encourage people to reflect on the reality that we’re doing something that has never been done before, trying to vaccinate an entire population in such a short period of time,” London said.

Anyone who is eligible for a vaccine can sign up online. Kent County recommends only signing up once to avoid bogging down their systems or duplicating data.

Muskegon County added Friday that it was prioritizing anyone age 75 and up. It said state data showed about 64% of its residents in that age group have already gotten at least one shot, and it is now working to make sure all can get vaccinated. It said people can go to MaskUpMuskegon.org/vaccineinfo to register. You can also call 211 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to register.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

COVID-19 Vaccine FAQs

More COVID-19 Vaccine FAQ

Growing Grand Rapids and Beyond

More Growing Grand Rapids and beyond

Top Stories On WOODTV.com

Know something newsworthy? Report It!

News 8 Links