GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As more vaccines are administered throughout the state, many are wondering how and where the general public will be vaccinated once the time comes.
During a press conference Tuesday, the state’s top doctor once again encouraged people to start thinking about their plan to get the shots.
“Please be planning now for how you will get the vaccine when it becomes available to you,” Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said at the briefing alongside the governor in Lansing, repeating a message she had shared during at least two previous press conferences.
State health officials have directed the general public to their local health department for more information on how and where the vaccine will be administered. Officials will the Kent County Health Department say they have been brainstorming for months but are still working on a finalized plan.
“There are definitely a lot of different plans in the works and ideas being discussed and locations being talked about,” Kent County Health Department medical director Dr. Nirali Bora said. “Eventually, we hope a lot of health care providers will be able to provide vaccines in their own offices. We’re (also) looking at large-scale facilities in town that people can do drive-by or walk-through vaccination.”
Bora said health care systems are also looking at locations outside their own facilities to use as potential vaccination sites.
All these ideas are being regularly discussed by a group called the West Michigan Vaccine Collaborative.
“It’s about 50 different organizations in town that work with health partners, health systems, universities… (and) a lot of different groups that are involved somehow in health care or have an interest in vaccine rollout,” Bora explained.
Bora said the group meets regularly to ensure there is as much transparency and collaboration possible when it comes to administering the vaccine.
“This is kind of what public health does,” she said. “We’ve been meeting for months just to discuss this very topic but there are so many unknowns that make it hard to plan.”
Currently, local health officials are focused on vaccinating those in the first priority group, primarily those in hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Looking ahead to when the when the general public can get vaccinated, health officials say there are too many factors in play to know now exactly how, where and which vaccine will be available.
“The planning has been happening for months. The challenge is we don’t know what kind of vaccine is available when and how much we have,” Bora said. “We don’t want to set up a mass vaccination site next week but only have enough vaccine for 300 people that has to be stored at negative 70 degrees. That won’t work.”
State and county health officials say it’ll likely be late spring or early summer by the time the general public can start the vaccination process.
For more information on the vaccine roll out plan in West Michigan, click here.