COVID-19 Vaccine Information
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Want the COVID-19 Vaccine?If you are interested in receiving the COVID-19 Vaccine and are in Phase 1A or Phase 1B, please complete the appropriate form below:
If you are 65 OR OLDER and are interested in being placed on the vaccine waitlist, please complete this form. We will be in touch with you to let you know when there are vaccine appointments available for you. Please be patient; vaccine appointment availability is subject to the vaccine supply.
If you are a health care worker or part of the health care system in Phase 1A, please complete this form.
If you are an employer of essential employees in Phase 1B, please complete this intake form. Note: this intake form is indicated for employers to complete on behalf of their business/organization's employees, not by individual people within an organization. We will schedule vaccinations for essential employees through their employer.
We will contact you with more information and instructions for making an appointment. Please do not complete the form more than once. Those completing this pre-registration or indicating interest on the waitlist should expect that appointments may not be available for several weeks. Therefore, we encourage everyone to be patient as we prepare for the upcoming vaccination phases.
COVID-19 Vaccines: Hope is on the Horizon
A COVID-19 vaccine will be critical in slowing the spread of the virus and helping our community recover from the pandemic. Stopping this pandemic will take us using all our tools: handwashing, masks, social distancing, and now, our newest tool of a vaccine to prevent the virus. Taken together, these tools offer the best chance of getting our community, schools, and businesses back to normal as soon as possible. Please remember, we will all need to keep using prevention strategies until enough of our community has received the vaccine.
Michigan COVID-19 Vaccine Dashboard:
A Phased Approach to Distribution
Now that the vaccines have been approved for use, the Berrien County Health Department is working with State and local agencies, area hospitals, pharmacies, and other partners to implement the MDHHS plan for a phased approach to distribution. Because quantities of the vaccine are still very limited — and will be for the foreseeable future — this approach follows CDC guidelines and prioritizes the highest-risk populations for severe COVID-19 illness due to risk factors or exposure due to occupation.
While timing of distribution is not yet certain and depends, largely, on vaccine supplies, vaccinations for individuals included in Phase 1A have been underway since late December 2020. Individuals in Phases 1B will be prioritized for vaccination in early January 20201, followed by Phase 1C who could expect vaccines by mid-spring. Individuals in Phase 2 can expect to be eligible by mid-2021. Michigan has set an initial operational goal of vaccinating 70% of people age 16 years of age and older, or about 5.6 million people, for COVID-19 by the end of 2021.
VACCINE STATUS IN BERRIEN COUNTY
LATEST UPDATES AS OF 1-21-21:
The Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland continue to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to those who are eligible and interested as quickly as possible. Aligning with state benchmarks, the collective goal is to distribute at least 90% of the vaccines allocated within seven days of receipt. As of January 21st, more than 7,000 vaccinations have been given to health care workers, emergency medical and first responders, and long-term care residents, as well as those who are at highest-risk for severe COVID-19 illness due to risk factors, such as age or exposure due to occupation.
Over the past week, both Spectrum Health Lakeland and the Berrien County Health Department have run large-scale mass vaccination clinics distributing COVID-19 vaccinations to approximately 1,000 people per day. Both the hospital and health department plan to further expand capacity to operate multiple large-scale vaccination clinics each week, as vaccine supply allows.
What about people on the waitlist for those over the age of 65?
There remains an overwhelming desire for COVID-19 vaccinations in Berrien County, particularly amongst those over the age of 65. To date, more than 19,000 older adults have expressed interest in being vaccinated via the Berrien County Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland vaccine surveys.
While it is encouraging to see so many eager individuals who are ready to be vaccinated, the demand for the vaccine is far outpacing the supply coming into Berrien County. Vaccine allocations are unpredictable; recently the total number of vaccines delivered to Berrien County ranges between 1,000 to 2,500 doses a week. At the rate that vaccines are being allocated, it will take time to move through all those who are eligible and interested in getting the vaccine.
Because vaccine supplies continue to be limited and are allocated to Berrien County by the state one week at a time, vaccination appointments continue to be opened and filled within the span of each week. To make the most efficient use of scarce vaccine resources, all clinics operated by both Spectrum Heath Lakeland and the Health Department are by appointment only and not open to the general public at this time.
The most efficient way to indicate interest in receiving a COVID-19 vaccination appointment is to complete the pre-registration for those over the age of 65 or complete the survey available via Lakeland MyChart located under “questionnaires” in the My Record section.
How will I know when its my turn for an appointment?
The Health Department and Spectrum Health Lakeland will be using these waitlists as the primary means of confirming eligibility and notifying community members when they are able to schedule a vaccination according to the communication preference they selected, either phone or email. Individuals on these waitlists will not receive a “confirmation” email or notification of their status on the list, but rather must wait until either organization has vaccine availability to schedule them for an appointment. Completing either survey does not mean individuals will be scheduled for an appointment immediately; individuals should anticipate that it may be several weeks before they receive notification of appointment availability.
Both agencies are collaborating with community organizations such as senior centers, Area Agency on Aging and PACE to reach homebound individuals, and have specialized outreach methods for reaching those with limited internet access. People are encouraged to assist their family and friends with the online pre-registration process, particularly those over the age of 65 who may be without internet access or email.
What about other groups, like essential workers?
Planning is underway to provide vaccinations to additional groups who are now eligible under the prioritization guidance issued by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, including childcare providers and pre-K through high school staff within the next few weeks. Other essential workers not currently eligible as well as people between the ages of 16 and 64 with health conditions that puts them at higher risk for serious COVID-19 complications, can expect to receive vaccinations by late-spring or early-summer. .
Who is currently being vaccinated? (As of 11-11-21)
At this time, subject to vaccine availability, BCHD is scheduling vaccination appointments for:
- All individuals in Phase 1A, which includes paid and unpaid persons serving in health care settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials and are unable to work from home as well as residents in long-term care facilities.
- Some individuals in Phase 1B who are in Group A and Group B. This includes:
- Group A: Persons 75 years of age or older not covered in Phase 1A. This includes those in a congregate setting that were not reached in Phase 1A. (Those over the age of 65 are also now eligible for vaccinations based on updated MDHHS guidelines - see below chart for more detail).
- Group B: Prioritized frontline workers whose work role has frequent or intense exposure, and, due to the nature of the work, are not able to maintain social distance. The specific prioritized categories are:
- Pre-Kindergarten through high school teachers, support staff and child care workers who usually have direct contact with children
- First responders not covered in Phase 1A (e.g., firefighters, police, conservation officers, inspectors)
- Corrections workers (e.g., staff in prisons, jails, juvenile justice facilities)
- Workers in homeless shelters, congregate child care institutions, and adult and child protective services
If you do not fall within the above categories, you will be eligible in a future phase. We’ll continue to update this site with information on who is eligible for vaccination.
What does this mean for me?
Please be patient. Initial vaccine supplies are expected to be small, but should be consistently be shipped to our community. But, it will still take weeks or months to move through each of the phases of the distribution plan. We are working quickly to provide more detailed information as it becomes available.
At this point, we don’t know how long it will take to move through the phases of distribution or what quantities of vaccine will be received at what time. We expect that as greater supplies become available, vaccine will become more available to the public. By mid-year, it is expected that vaccines will be available through local health departments, area pharmacies, and through your health care provider.